Mules find success at conference championships

Dalton '22 runs in 2018-2019.

On Nov. 2, the men’s and women’s track teams returned to Gettysburg for the Centennial Conference Championships, looking to improve upon the last time they were at Gettysburg, which was only two weeks ago, on Oct. 19. 

Abby Dalton ‘22 and Jason Richwall ‘20 once again led the Mules. Both finished in 13th place and earned All-CC second team honors for their performances. This was  Richwall’s second time receiving the honor, while this was a first for Dalton, who ran a time of 23:04.9.  

Richwall expressed his appreciation for the accolade and reflected upon his performance. “While I would have liked to place higher, I am honored to have made Second Team All-Conference again,” said Richwall. 

“Running the same time on that course in tougher conditions is something to be proud of,” he added. 

Running the course two weeks ago was certainly helpful going into the meet as well as the push from both coaches and family. “I knew the course well, since this was my second time racing it. It also helped that my coaches and family members were there to give me encouragement,” Dalton said. 

Familiarity with the course also played a huge role in Richwall’s top 15 finish. “I feel like our experience racing on the Gettysburg course, as well as our training to peak at the right time, helped us race well against some tough competition we hadn’t seen before this weekend,” Richwall said. 

While they may not have gotten a top 10 finish, both runners qualified for the Mid-East Regional, which will take place at Lehigh University on Saturday, Nov. 16.

Despite the poor weather conditions over the weekend, six out of seven Mules ran better times than they did at their last go-around at Gettysburg. Richwall, who won the Gettysburg Invitational, ran a 25:48.4, three tenths of a second faster than his previous performance. The woman’s side also showed improvement, with Stephanie Ng ‘20 lowering her time by 30 seconds. 

The coach’s words seemed to be instrumental in the improvements of all the runners. “We were told to make small goals along the course to ensure we remained focused on the race, and we were also advised to stick with people who would help us run a faster time,” Dalton explained. 

Richwall completely agreed with Dalton about how the coaching leading up to the event was important to their eventual success at the Championships. “Coach Cal and I both felt it would be good to simplify the race by running with the main pack and not worrying about pacing,” said Richwall. “This was very helpful, especially early in the race.” 

Dalton is looking to ride this momentum and take another step in the next race. “I am hoping my hard work will pay off at the next race, Regionals,” said Dalton. She is setting the bar high for herself, and with the way she has been able to perform in meets this year, this could be a great year for not only her, but for the entire track and field program.

Dalton is going in with the same positive mindset that she carries to all of her competitions. “I hope I continue putting in a lot of effort and improving how I run in each race,” said Dalton. 

Richwall is on the same page as his co-runner, moving on with lots of confidence. “I am extremely excited to run our Regionals at what is pretty much our home course at Lehigh,” said Richwall. “I ran countless races and workouts there over the years, and I can’t wait to do everything I can to make it out to nationals for the first time.” 

Luckily for the Mules, Regionals will be held at a course that is familiar to both runners, which will surely play to their strengths. 

Muhlenberg Track and Field are primed for success on Nov. 16, and with a great training and supporting cast in their coaches, the sky’s the limit for these runners at Regionals.  

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