In the season’s final sprint, CMS track and field is looking to run it back

Caroline DelVecchio SC ’23 during her victory in the 400-meter hurdles, a race she won by just 0.02 seconds during the Triton Invitational at UC San Diego on April 8. (Courtesy: CMS Athletics)

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) men’s and women’s track and field quickly raced to claim the conference’s top spot in 2022. As two of the conference’s most illustrious programs, the Stags and Athenas are looking to run it back this year, and after several strong performances already this season, they may be on their way.

CMS men’s track and field has been the most dominant team of the past few decades, winning 26 conference titles since 1992. This year is no different. According to the latest USTFCCCA National Ratings Index, the men’s team is currently ranked No. 2 overall. This comes after a dominant showing at the Multi-Dual at Occidental on April 1, where the Stags swept Whittier, La Verne and Caltech, winning each matchup by over 100 points.

Stags captain Christian Campbell CM ’23 has already secured a record-setting season, breaking the program’s former 200-meter record with a time of 20.92 seconds at the Multi-Dual and its 100-meter record, which stood for 35 years, with a time of 10.47 seconds at the Pomona-Pitzer All-Comers meet on Feb. 18. 

Campbell currently sits at No. 2 nationally in the 200-meter, No. 6 in the 100-meter and is also part of the top-ranked 4×100 relay with Quincey Williams CM ’24, Nick Teresi CM ’24 and Joshua Martinez HM ’25. He credits his successes to his improved commitment to the team.

“I think the biggest thing that’s helped me improve is my passion for the sport,” Campbell said. “Last season, I was putting in the same amount of work, but I wasn’t as into it as I am now. This year I am really focused, and I have just been really consistent with my dedication.”

CMS women’s track and field has also been dominant this season, sweeping all three of their SCIAC Multi-Duals. Their perfect record against SCIAC opponents has secured them a ranking of No. 3 in the West region, according to the latest USTFCCCA Regional Rating Index. Although Redlands sits at one spot above CMS in the region, the Athenas are the favorite to win SCIACs, which would be their eighth in nine years of competition, and have also set themselves up well for success at the NCAA DIII National Championships. 

Caroline DelVecchio SC ’23, captain of the women’s team, has had individual success this season, being named the SCIAC Athlete of the Week for the second time on April 9. This distinction is a result of a win in the 400-meter hurdles at the Triton Invitational at UC San Diego on April 8, where she outran the second-place finisher by just 0.02 seconds. DelVecchio said that her team’s overall can-do attitude has inspired her to compete at the top of her level. 

“We’re doing really well as a whole, [and] we actually have a lot of people this year that have never run before,” DelVecchio said. “They’re improving drastically, and it’s so fun watching them run and really be successful. We would definitely get the most-improved award and were looking to get the award [as champions] at SCIACs.”

DelVecchio suggests that many people, including other student-athletes, often underestimate the difficulty of the sport. She wishes more people understood the strain that running and doing field events puts on the athletes’ bodies.

“We have a teammate who also plays volleyball, and she joined the track team this year having never run track before,” DelVecchio said. “She always says that she never expected [running track] to be as hard as it is, so that is kind of validating. It would be nice for people to understand what we put ourselves through.”

Because the men’s and women’s teams practice and compete alongside each other, thrower Carly Kirsch CM ’24 says that the team environment is one that promotes support and unity and helps these student athletes feel less alone in their experience as athletes of the sport. The two teams combined house over 130 student-athletes from all three schools, which highlights the uniqueness of having student-athletes from three colleges.

“While you’re definitely closest with your event group, everyone knows that we’re all still part of one big team and we really do try to support each other at meets,” Kirsch said. “My event consists of majority Mudders, and we definitely play on the [school] stereotypes a little bit and they joke around with us. Sometimes they’ll critique us and be like, ‘if you threw the hammer this many degrees higher, it would have gone this much farther.’ It’s such a great aspect of the team to be able to have that vibe.”

For DelVecchio, being part of a big team and having the opportunity to form relationships that she feels she wouldn’t have otherwise makes the struggles and the commitment of being a student athlete –– particularly a track athlete –– worth it.  

“Obviously I like running –– that’s why I do track –– but the part that brings me the most joy is running with my friends and having that support system,” DelVecchio said. “I don’t think that I would have stayed here if I didn’t have the track team. When I’m at practice, I’m running hard and working and I’m focused, but I am also spending time with some of my closest friends, and I would not trade that for the world.”

The Stags and the Athenas are set to finish off their regular season at the SCIAC Championships on April 29 and April 30 at La Verne.

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