Men’s Indoor Track & Field
The John Carroll University men’s indoor track and field team opened the season over the weekend at the two-day, unscored Golden Flash Gala at Kent State University. The Blue and Gold started off the season on a high note, as a number of Blue Streaks posted solid performances at the event.
As the first meet of JCU’s winter season, the Golden Flash Gala gave ample opportunity for the team’s younger athletes to make their mark. Junior pole vaulter Alex Hamizadeh did just that for the Blue and Gold. Hamizadeh led the men’s team with a sixth-place finish in the pole vault clearing 4.6m/15-01.00.
While traveling to Kent State, Hamizadeh watched pole vault videos on YouTube to mentally prepare himself for the tournament.
“I just kept thinking about getting over 15,” Hamizadeh said. “I made it on a second attempt. I got a little cocky on my first. Cockiness is common with pole-vaulters, but nonetheless I still achieved my goal that day. It’s all about making yourself accountable for reaching your goals.”
Other standouts for the Blue Streaks included freshman sprinter Connor Lynch and sophomore sprinter Michael Hydzik. The two competed in the 400m, finishing back-to-back in 26th and 27th place, respectively, within seven hundredths of a second of each other. Lynch crossed at 52.67 and Hydzik at 52.74.
Lynch said of his key to success was “the training and practice I had here at John Carroll before the meet. Great team support and training were the key.”
Fellow freshman Brendan Brown finished 16th in the men’s shot put. While happy with his first meet, Brown said he realizes he’s not at his peak yet.
“It was a good first mark for the start of college. I need to improve on my spin; that’s what let me down the most,” said Brown.
While the team had a solid day, the Blue Streaks know there’s always room for improvement.
“We need to keep pushing each other in practice and making sure everyone is putting in 100 percent all the time,” Hydzik said. “The coaches can only take us so far, and after that point, it’s up to us to take charge and be the best we can be.”
Women’s Indoor Track & Field
The John Carroll University women’s indoor track and field team started the season off strong with several breakout performances this past weekend at the Golden Flash Gala at Kent State University.
Leading the way for the women’s squad was senior Gabriella Kreuz. The cross-country All-American earned Ohio Athletic Conference Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Week after she finished in fourth place in the 3,000m.
“I was pleasantly surprised with my performance,” said Kreuz, “I just got done with cross country two weeks ago and haven’t been training much at all, so when the coaches asked me if I could run earlier in the week, I was a little apprehensive about where my fitness would be. I had never even run this event before which made me nervous too.”
Kreuz was the only upperclassmen to compete on the women’s side for this tournament, so many of the freshmen and sophomore runners had an opportunity to make an impact. Sophomore Karissa Manko did just that, as she finished ninth in the 800m with a time of 2:37.46 seconds. She also took 12th place in the triple jump.
“Before track, I ran cross country for JCU,” Manko said. “And although I’m a sprinter, I found cross country helped build up my endurance which allowed me to improve in track.”
Freshman Sara Martinko was also busy competing in multiple events over the weekend. She finished 12th in both the 60m hurdles (9.84 seconds) and the high jump. Martinko also earned 14th in the 800m with a time of 2:50.99 seconds.
A pair of freshmen found success in the 400m. Joy Nyaanga finished 13th, clocking in at 1:02.92 and Alyssa Biedron finished at 1:05.14 seconds. Freshman Maria Manglone competed in both the shot put and weight throw, finishing 16th and 32nd. Despite the early butterflies, she succeeded in the tournament.
“We’ve been practicing since Streak Week and it pretty much all came down to this meet,” Manglone said. “I have never thrown weight in competition so I was shaking the whole time, which probably didn’t help me throw far. I’m happy with the results because I know that I can only improve and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the indoor season to do that.”
The women’s squad competes next in the Baldwin Wallace Mid-January Meet on Jan. 17 in Berea, Ohio.