By Tory Igoe, news staff
Northeastern University’s men’s and women’s track teams competed at the John Thomas Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Boston University. Named after the Boston University track and field legend, the invitational is an annual indoor track and field meet held in his honor.
Thomas became the first man to clear 2.13-meters in the high jump, and subsequently competed in the Rome Olympics of 1960 and the Tokyo Olympics of 1964. After receiving bronze medals for the high jump, he remained involved in track and field as an assistant coach at Boston University. He passed away at the age of 71 in 2013.
Coming off a strong second place finish at home, the Huskies held firm and made solid performances both on and off the track.
“The nature of track and field is to utilize every weekend in the entire season to build and train. There are only a couple of times where the training load is taken off in order to peak so we really don’t measure overall performance until the Championship block in each season,” head coach Cathrine Erickson said. “The New England Championships, the IC4A Championship and the NCAA Championships will be where we measure our team’s impact. From an individual’s perspective, we had some highlights.”
Many athletes displayed personal prowess. Junior Ryan Kim placed second in the shot put, throwing for 16.96 meters. Junior Kyle Darrow also landed a second place finish in the long jump with a distance of 7.39 meters. On the track, senior Paul Duffey stole a first place finish for the Huskies in the 800-meter sprint with a time of 1 minute, 48.68 seconds.
“Ryan Kim, Kyle Darrow and Paul Duffey continue to excel on a consistent basis,” Erickson said. “They are constantly making impacts with the way they compete and setting the standard of what we are looking for.”
For the women’s team, sophomore Paige Suse brought home a third place finish in the high jump with a height of 1.7 meters. Alongside her, senior Jessica Scott came fourth in the long jump with a distance of 5.5 meters.
Any highly competitive sports team will say there remains room for improvement. Despite some difficulties, the invitational embodied a building block for future invites and championships. Hence, the team stuck together and produced strong, foundational numbers to continue on in their season with.
“I think the mindset of our teams will continue to improve. Being more resilient and sharply focused are a couple of the most important factors to our team’s success,” Erickson said. “As we start to get closer to the indoor championship season I expect our focus to get sharper.”
This week, the Huskies stay local to compete across the bridge at Harvard University’s Crimson Elite meet on Friday and Boston University’s Scarlet & White meet on Saturday.
“The events offered at the Crimson Elite meet are mostly a speed power meet. We will be competing against an invited field who bring national championship experience,” Erickson said.
Regardless of the stiff competition, such as the University of Virginia throwers Northeastern athletes find themselves well suited to the challenge. If the Huskies keep their competitive edge, a strong showing is inevitable.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics