The Muhlenberg men’s and women’s track and field teams have begun the outdoor season off well. It has been a total team effort with both newcomers and veterans placing high at the meets.
At the Lafayette 8-way Invitational the Mules competed against schools from the Division I, II and III levels with nearby schools such as Moravian, Lehigh and Lafayette took part in the meet. Emily Mitchell ‘21 had an excellent first career outdoor meet as she placed first in the long jump and second in the triple jump. Mitchell is building off of a stellar indoor season where she placed eighth in her first ever Muhlenberg meet, a first place finish at the Muhlenberg home invite in the long jump, and placed fourth in the long jump in the Centennial Conference Championships. Classmate Evan Giannetti ‘21 made his Muhlenberg debut by placing first in the javelin, which was the eighth best throw in school history.
Throwers Jess Voltaggio ‘18 and Michael Havkins ‘18 also had a tremendous performance at Lafayette. Voltaggio finished first in the discus, setting a new career best, and Havkins came in second in the discus. Havkins, the defending Centennial Conference champion in the discus was named Centennial Conference field athlete of the week after posting the top discus throw in the Centennial Conference so far this season.
The following week the Mules continued their success on the track and in the fieldhouse at home in the Muhlenberg Invitational. Havkins continued his stellar start to the outdoor season placing first in the discus and qualified for the ECAC.
Fellow thrower Erik Berger ‘19 placed fourth and also qualified for the ECAC. On the track, star distance runners Anthony Calantoni ‘18 and Corey Mullins ‘19 finished second and third respectively and both qualified for the ECAC.
The other first place finish for the Mules came from distance runner Emily Davidson ‘18 in the 800 meters posting ECAC qualifying time of just under 2:18.48. The women’s team had three more ECAC qualifiers including Jamie Pacilio ‘18 in the 1500 meters, Alison Stouffer ‘20 and Alana Noehrenberg ‘21 in the high jump.
The Mules’ success for the outdoor season so far has started with a year-long preparation that began in August. Head Track Coach Brad Hackett states that “we have been preparing all year for this outdoor season – the distance runners came back to start the cross country season on Aug. 20 and have been working hard ever since then, the non-distance runners started working offseason workouts the beginning of September and we started actual practice the end of October – so we have been getting ready for this outdoor season for a long time.”
The hard work has surely paid off, and both veterans and newcomers have grown tremendously since preparation for the season began back in the fall. Going forward the Mules should continue their momentum from the first two full team outdoor meets and expect the Mules to have success both now and in the future.
Hackett exclaims, “We have a great mix of freshmen and upperclassmen on our team – we have a very good freshmen class which will help us for years to come and we have several seniors who should make it to the outdoor NCAA championship. The success of the seniors will certainly help the freshmen as they strive to improve.”
The Mules’ next meet is at Bucknell in the Bison Outdoor classic on Apr. 14. The team is looking to build off of the momentum from the first two meets and continue their quest to place high in the Centennial Conference Championship and possibly have some members qualify for the NCAA championships.