Throwers Leads Track & Field Teams into CC Championships

Thursday, May 1, 2014 - page 3

Like poorly behaved children, some members of the Muhlenberg track and field teams throw things when they want to get their way. Instead of getting scolded or put in “timeout,” though, the Mules hope to get rewarded with medals.

Andy Wolfe
Wolfe finished fifth in the javelin at the 2013 CC meet and threw his season best of 160-11 at Muhlenberg’s home invitational. Like Muhlenberg, Swarthmore has a grass runway.
After a strong outdoor season, Muhlenberg’s throwers will travel along with the runners, jumpers, hurdlers and vaulters to Swarthmore for the Centennial Conference Championships this weekend. The three-day event begins Friday afternoon and concludes Sunday.

The Mules expect to score many points in the throwing events for the second straight year. Last season, after ordering shirts that identified themselves as the “Mules Bomb Squad,” the throwers exploded at the CC Championships, finishing 1-2-4-5 in the men’s javelin and also scoring points in the men’s discus and shot put and women’s discus and javelin.

“We’re almost a little separate subculture of the team,” said senior Andy Wolfe. “We’re generally bigger people and we hang out with each other.”

For one subset of that subculture, the javelin throwers, the CC meet is the culmination of a long buildup to a very short competitive season. The javelin throwers begin practice with their teammates in the fall but don’t get to compete until the outdoor season begins in late March.

“It’s a little weird,” acknowledged Wolfe. “It’s October and you have in the back of your mind that you’re not competing for six months. It seems like it would be boring or repetitive, but we get a new workout about every month. Each new workout is essentially a new stage in our training, and it’s exciting to move on to a new stage.

“[The long training period] gives you confidence on the runway,” he added.

That confidence showed last year, and although injuries have curtailed the Mules’ ultimate goal of having their six men’s javelin throwers all place at the CC meet, several could find their way to the podium. Junior Tyler Bauer is the overwhelming favorite to win his third straight gold medal. The 2013 CC Most Outstanding Performer has the best javelin throw in the CC by more than 21 feet, and he is currently ranked ninth in Division III. Sophomore Jordan Rosenthal (third), Wolfe (seventh) and freshman Jack Zurlini (10th) are also in the top 10 on the CC performance list.

Sophomore Daniel Cano, who placed in the discus and the shot put at last year’s CC meet, is seeded second in the discus.

The throwing success under the tutelage of assistant coach Andy Fahringer extends to the women’s team, where sophomore Jessica Thimmel (fourth), freshman Michelle Gaykowski (sixth) and junior Cora Wallace (seventh) all rank in the top 10 for discus. The school record-holder in the discus, Thimmel placed fourth at the 2013 CC meet. All three also rank in the top 12 in the shot put.

Ashley Riley
Sophomore Ashley Riley is tied for seventh in the triple jump and tied for eighth in the long jump on the CC performance list. She placed eighth in the long at the CC Indoor Championships in March.
The top returning scorer for the women’s team is senior Stephanie Carnevale, who enters her last conference meet seeded third in the 100 hurdles and seventh in the 100. Sophomore Claire Thornton is fourth in the 800, and senior Nicki Cronin is eighth in the 1,500.

The Mule women also will look for multiple placewinners in the hurdles, with senior Amber Lee Wojtkowski and sophomore Katrina Faust right behind Carnevale on the performance list; the high jump, where Faust and freshman Jacqueline Jones are tied for sixth; and the pole vault, where freshman Claudia Theriault (third), Jones (sixth) and Faust (eighth) are all in the top eight.

On the men’s team, the highest-seeded track athlete is freshman Jake Waleski, who is sixth in the 400 hurdles. Sophomore Brandon Tauber and freshman Trevor Luck are tied for third in the high jump, while senior Scott Reutter has the top decathlon score of the year and also ranks eighth in the 110 hurdles.

A four-time placewinner at CC championship events, junior Jacob Miller-Sobel tied for the sixth-highest pole vault in the CC during the regular season.

For athletes on both teams, whether they started competition on the last day of August with the cross country teams or on the third-to-last day of March in the first outdoor meet, the key in this final meet will be trusting their training, according to Wolfe.

“You just have to go out there and have fun with it,” he said. “You’ve been training all year, you know what you have to do, and that has to be your mindset.”