Track and field starts with Florida State Relays

Freshman distance runner Kelsey Chambers prepares to take her jump. As a hurdler and jumper, Chambers is one example of the wealth of young talent within Tech’s track and field. // Photo courtesy of Henry Knox Student Publications

The Jackets entered the weekend of the Florida State Relays looking to prove themselves as they begin the outdoor season. With little time between the indoor and outdoor seasons, it can be challenging to transition between the two. The first meet of the semester was at Tech, so this was the teams’ first on the road. Given the rainy conditions of that weekend, the Jackets have not had many chances to shine thus far, but Tech still rose to the occasion with a strong road opener. 

There were many top-10 finishes across every distance, but their strongest performances on the track came in the 800 meters. In the women’s race, the Jackets took third through eighth. They were led by distance runner Gracie Marston who finished with a time of 2:11.21. As a sophomore, she has consistently had great performances throughout cross country, and this shows that the young runner is likely to have a strong outdoor season as well. For the men’s race, distance runner Jeremiah LaDuca finished in fifth (1:53.90). The Jackets did not have as many standout performances in higher distances, but they had many returners such as senior Tristan Autry. He was out for many months, but he still returned with an impressive 1,500 meter run in 4:04.03. Autry is likely to continue to improve throughout the season. The 100-meter dash also saw success with sophomore Eric Singleton Jr., a two-sport athlete in both football and track and field, placing second with a blistering 10.56. Freshman sprinter Jade Ofotan also placed fourth in the women’s race with a time of 11.86. Both athletes are freshmen, showing the bright future of the program with the plethora of young talent. They have been getting better and better throughout the year, and this is one of the best openers they have had in a long time.

Not only did the Jackets have a strong weekend on the track, but they also performed well in field events. Senior jumper Cameron O’Neal and junior jumper Omar Arnaout finished second and third respectively in the men’s high jump. The height of their jumps were 2.28 m and 2.08 m which sets the standards high for the rest of the season. Senior high jumper Camille Trotman similarly finished second in the women’s high jump with a height of 1.64 m. Tech has always done well in field events and this shows they are likely to continue to maintain these high standards. 

There were many top-10 finishes at the relays. The ACC can be quite a competitive field and they rose to the occasion. This is an important season for the Jackets. Having a facility like the Michael K. Anderson Building, a state-of-the-art home for the track and field team, has been increasing support for track and field at Tech. This has only been augmented by the announcement of ACC Outdoor Relays at the George C. Griffin Track. Their successes have only been cemented by the performances in Tallahassee. 

They are likely to have another great showing in two weeks as they head to Gainesville, Fla. for the Tom Jones Memorial before returning home to Atlanta for the exciting Tech Invitational on Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20