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Tigers compete at Fred Wilt Invitational, begin NCAC with multi-event competition

On February 27, 2012

The DePauw women's track and field team won the Fred Wilt Invitational at Anderson University this past Saturday, totaling 108 points, 38 more than second-place Centre College. The men's team finished fifth at the same meet, scoring 48 points. Wabash College won the meet with 130 points.

Three DePauw athletes — freshman Jack Leibovitz and juniors Lee Harmon and Taryn Owens — also competed and placed at the NCAC Conference Championship combined events. That meet was for multi-event events such as the heptathlon and pentathlon before the main NCAC Indoor Conference Championships next weekend at Wabash. Leibovitz placed second in the heptathlon and Harmon and Owens placed fourth and eighth respectively in the pentathlon. These scores will go towards the men's and women's totals for next weekend's meet.

Leibovitz, who has been held out of competition for the past three weeks due to a nagging injury, was only 11 points behind first-place finisher Andrew Diehl of Ohio Wesleyan University. Still, he was excited to compete for the team.

"It feels great to know I was able to contribute to the team, especially because I really haven't been able to do it yet," Leibovitz said. "(The heptathlon) is pretty tough…you just have to minimize your losses in your worst event by doing whatever it takes and maximize your best events."

Harmon also noted how important it was to get points from both herself and Owens on the women's side.

"Getting points now is just great heading into the rest of the conference meet next weekend," Harmon said. "It's just such a confidence boost to know we're already on the board."

At Anderson, the pole vaulters for the men's and women's squads set the day off right as freshman Pascale Hansen broke her own pole vault school record with a mark of 10 feet, 2 inches and sophomore Kyle Mackey finished first with a jump of 4.45 meters (14'7.25").

Mackey, who had a first place finish in DePauw's first meet of the season, is excited about his performance over the past few weeks.

Mackey said. "Pole vaulting is simple — run fast, be strong and jump high. I can really attribute my success to the 6 a.m. workouts Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It's the extra boost boot to take one more step towards my goals and it has paid off tremendously."

On the women's side, the Tigers managed to win the meet without any first-place finishers. Sophomore Siri Retrum placed second in the 5,000 meter run and junior Chelsea Courtney and sophomore Nigelie Assee tied for second in the 60-meter hurdles. Courtney also placed second in the high jump.

Courtney, who just earned all-conference honors last weekend at the NCAC swimming and diving championships in the one-meter diving competition, was happy to make her transition into the track and field season with so much success.

"Part of me was tired and wanted a break from competition," Courtney said, "but once I got out there I was fired up to go. Winning an event helps, too."

For the men, the fifth-place finish was deceiving as the team was only six and half points behind second place Manchester. For the individual races, third place was the popular spot as freshman Aaron Krabill placed third in the pole vault, senior Tyler Giesting in the 800 meter run, freshman Dustin Query in the 1,000 meter run, Noah Droddy in the mile run, freshman Steven Rutherford in the long jump and 60-meter dash.

Both teams will now focus their attention to the NCAC Indoor Championships next weekend. The teams have now had four meets to prepare and test out their best lineups for the conference meet. The women's have established itself as a competitor for the NCAC indoor crown, especially with the overall win last weekend at Anderson. Senior captain Sam Wong stresses that while the team may not be 100 percent, athletes are still ready to compete on Saturday.

"Usually we're all just playing catch-up for most of (the indoor season) until we get to outdoor," Wong said. "But I feel like everyone is as prepared as they could be. We've all been going to practice and trying to do as much as we can."

The second-place finish from Leibovitz is a boost for the men, but after running against Wabash for four straight weeks, the men are aware of the kind of competition they will face in the NCAC.

"Wabash can be intimidating just because they have numbers," Giesting said. "They've just got a lot of bodies."

For a comparison, DePauw men's team has 45 athletes to the 70 plus members of the Wabash team. Still, Giesting and the rest of the team are focusing on themselves and trying not to become intimidated.

"We know have a place in the conference," Giesting said, "and we have some guys that can go out and score in events… Anything can happen in any race."

Both teams will look to stay optimistic and build off the success from last weekend next Saturday at Wabash for the NCAC Indoor Championships. 

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