Track team still riding high from home meet

Exciting top finishes at the recent W&L Carnival show the potential of both the men’s and women’s rosters going forward

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Track team still riding high from home meet

Ben Soullier, Sports Writer

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At their only home meet of the season on March 16-17, the Washington and Lee track and field team put on a show for fans and supporters as the women’s team achieved six top-seven finishes and the men achieved nine top-seven finishes.

The team’s season is a long and difficult one, beginning in December and lasting until May. The W&L Carnival is the single chance athletes have to perform in front of their peers and families on home turf. The Generals took full advantage of that opportunity.

Annie Cunningham, ‘21, ran in the first Carnival meet of her career. She placed second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:22.04.

Cunningham said that being on her home track definitely made her feel more comfortable, as it is the team’s practice location all year. She said this familiarity made her podium finish all the sweeter.

“To come in second in the 800 on our home track was such a great feeling since all of the people who see me everyday and help me improve were all able to be there,” Cunningham said. “Also, my parents try to come to as many home events as possible, but being from Connecticut, it’s not an easy trip. But they came for Carnival and for them to see me do well in my first home meet was really special.”

Cunningham said she hopes to continue her success as the outdoor season progresses. She is currently chasing personal records in both the 800 meter and 400 meter events, as well as an All-ODAC performance in one of those events at the ODAC Championship meet later this spring.

For the men’s team, Donovan Fiore, ‘20, finished first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.29 seconds and finished second in the 400 meter dash with a time of 50.05 seconds. His time in the 200 was a personal best as well.

Fiore said his success was all due to what has been given to him through his training and natural ability.

“This last weekend was the product of incredibly detailed, regimented coaching from Coach Uhl, phenomenal support from teammates and a bit of speed that God gifted me with,” Fiore said. “I think it was the excitement of being outdoors with friends and family [his mom flew from his home in Arizona] combined with the tough training the team has completed the entire year so far.”

Despite his success, Fiore said he still has more he wishes to accomplish. In fact, Fiore said he had envisioned himself doing better at the Carnival meet than he did.

“Based on my indoor times, I had been hoping for quicker times, but it was still exciting to compete and win a few events on the track we spend so much time training on,” Fiore said. “I was so grateful and glad to have my mom fly out to watch me run. Making her, my teammates and my coach proud means so much more than any titles or ranks.”

Captain Kaleigh Hinton, ‘18, ran in the final Carnival meet of her career this weekend. She came in second in the 100 meter hurdles and the 400 meter hurdles. She also gained a personal best time in the 100 meter hurdles, running the event in 16 seconds flat.

Hinton said she credits her success to the hard work she and her teammates have put in and the challenges the coaches have laid before the team in the form of difficult workouts.

“It was an amazing feeling to be successful at our only home meet in the outdoor season,” Hinton said. “My friends and family were all there, and having their support really motivated me to run my best. Carnival is one of my favorite meets of the year, and knowing that this was my last time racing at our home track made it all the more special.”

In her last season as a W&L athlete, Hinton said she hopes to reach her peak shape in time for the ODAC Championship meet.

“As a senior, being a part of this team means the world to me,” Hinton said. “Track and Field has been the best part of my [undergraduate] experience, mainly because of my teammates and coaches who make it so enjoyable. I’m really sad that my time on the team is coming to an end but am so proud of all of the underclassmen who I know are going to do an amazing job leading the team next year.”