By George Tatoris
Sometimes a few inches is all it takes.
This is what junior track athlete Jonathan Wright learned last week at the Princeton Heptathlon.
Coach Justin Lindsey had noticed during training sessions that Wright was getting just a little too close to the first hurdle in the 60 meter hurdles, so in response Lindsey moved the starting block — just a little.
“This was my first ‘successful’ hurdle race in a full year, and it’s thanks to my coach making an adjustment five minutes before the race went off,” Wright said. “So I have to thank him for that.”
The last-minute adjustment resulted in Wright taking second place at the heptathlon with a total of 4,446 points. Just behind him was teammate senior James O’Connor, who collected 4,261 points.
“I didn’t run anything spectacular, in fact it was relatively slow,” Wright said. “But it was kind of a redemption after failing so many times at that very track.”
Only two Lions, Wright and O’Connor, competed at the heptathlon. Coach Lindsey led the rest of the pack to successful outings at the Lehigh-hosted John Covert Classic last Saturday, Jan. 31, as well.
On the women’s team, three Lions took first place in their respectful events. Senior Joan Hales overtook 32 other throwers in the weight throw, even toppling Division I athletes.
“Joan is having an amazing season so far, and I can’t wait to see what she does next,” fellow classmate and teammate Joy Spriggs said.
Spriggs, freshman Emily Mead and seniors Michelle Cascio and Katelyn Ary worked together to best their competition in the 4×400 relay.
Ary was the top finisher in the 400 meters as well, with an overall time of 59.94 seconds, adding a third top finish to the Lions’ total wins that day. Ary expressed enthusiasm at the team’s successes so far.
Just behind Ary, Cascio took second with a time of 1:00.13, and Spriggs took fifth with a time of 1:00.72.
“The success has been contagious and watching people consistently improve has been inspiring to everyone,” Ary said.
The men’s team fared well at the Classic, too, with junior Jake Lindacher performing his best thus far in the 60 meter hurdles with a time of 8.37 seconds, earning him second place. He also took 10th after a 7.23 second long sprint in the 60 meter dash.
Sophomore Zach Hubner finishing third in both the 100 meter with a time of 7.17 seconds and 300 meter dash with a time of 23.23 seconds.
Hubner, along with junior Laron Day, freshman Daniel Lynch and senior Erik Moutenot, took second in the 4×400 relay with a time of 3:28.09.
Juniors Roberto Guiducci and Tyler Grimm and sophomore Chris Gugliemo both earned sixth for their respective events — Guidicci in the mile with a time of 4:25.87, Grimm in the 5,000 meters with a time of 15:49.04 and Gugliemo in the pole vault with a height of 4.05 meters.
Both teams feel positive about their performances.
“The team has improved by just getting stronger and always going after their race no matter what the conditions are,” Spriggs said.