BY: MATTHEW CRUMP
Eastern’s track and field team achieved success last weekend at the Rod McCravy Memorial Meet after solid performances from the team’s distance runners.
The meet took place at the Nutter Fieldhouse in Lexington. The Colonels competed against schools like the University of Kentucky, Ohio State and Missouri University.
The surprise performance of the meet was freshman Mads Taersboel’s run in the men’s mile race. He placed second out of 44 runners with a time of 4:05.31. In his first ever mile, he managed to pass fellow Colonel, All-American and men’s mile-record holder, senior Soufiane Bouchikhi. Bouchikhi ran with a time of 4:06.66.
“It was the first time in three years that I ran a race so short,” Taersboel said. “I was a little afraid I’d hit a wall, or whatever you’d call it.”
Taersboel’s time is the new fastest men’s mile time so far this winter edging out Bouchikhi’s record of 4:07.85. Taersboel’s time is the fifth-fastest indoor mile in Eastern history.
Taersboel said he feels like Bouchikhi’s times and records helped push him to place well.
“I was looking forward to racing him,” Taersboel said. “It wasn’t really a goal to beat him, but you always aim to beat the best guy. It gave me a lot of confidence.”
Bouchikhi didn’t trail far behind Taersboel. His time of 4:06.66 netted him third place in the men’s mile. Sophomore Sean Vandermosten also competed in the race. His personal-best time of 4:09.17 earned him sixth place.
The Colonels also had great placement in the men’s 3,000 meters race. Junior Wade Meddles was the top Colonel. His efforts earned him second place out of 31 runners with an OVC-best time of 8:10.85, which is the fourth fastest in Eastern history. Sophomores Ole Hesselbjerg (8:17.79) and Thijs Nijhuis (8:18.20) also performed well by finishing third and fourth in the men’s 3,000 meters.
Freshman Jeppe Harboe was another big win for the Colonels. With a time of 14:34.38, he won the men’s 5,000 race.
However, the women’s team didn’t have the same success as the men. Sophomore Ann Eason continues her streak of strong results after placing second out of 47 runners in the women’s mile with a time of 4:53.69. Eason’s time was both an OVC and personal-best.
Freshman Julie Mathisen had a strong finish in the women’s 800 meters. Her time of 2:14.73 is the fourth fastest in the OVC this winter.
Head coach Rick Erdmann, while happy with Eastern’s results, said he sees the indoor track season as a way to train for the outdoor season.
“Some of our sprinters and 400-meter runners are still getting into shape,” Erdmann said. “We use indoor track to get in shape for outdoors. That’s the approach we take.”
Eastern returns to the track this Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Middle Tennessee State Invitational in Murfreesboro, Tenn.