Although both the men and women’s indoor track and field teams finished last at the Liberty League Championships two weekends ago, two veterans, Ben Mountain ’17 and Noemie Bechu ’17, starred for their respective teams.
Mountain, a member of the All-Liberty League First Team, won the shotput event and qualified for the ECAC Championships in March with a throw of 14.51 meters. “My shotput performance really took me by surprise,” said Mountain of his season-best throw. “This was my last chance to give it my all during the regular season and I wanted to walk away from the meet knowing I had done that.”
The ECACs presents another chance for Mountain, who has never qualified for them before, to test himself. “It felt pretty incredible to qualify,” added Mountain. “I’m just hoping I can get another big personal record while I’m there, score some points in the process and maybe even qualify for Nationals come spring.”
Bechu also had a record-setting weekend, winning two individual track events – the first time that’s happened in the program’s history. She won both the 200-meter and 400-meter dash with times of 26.26 and 58.69 seconds, respectively. Bechu was also named the Outstanding Track Athlete of the Meet, on her way to being named the Liberty League Indoor Track Performer of the Week for the second time this season.
Despite some frustration with her prior performances, Bechu feels staying positive helped her hit her peak at the right time. “My season had been a little stagnant before Leagues, so I think just maintaining a positive attitude and keeping my confidence high regardless of those past races helped me succeed,” said Bechu. “I had been running really well in practice so focusing on my strengths before the race helped me get into the mindset that I could race well.” While Mountain and Bechu were the only two to win events at the meet, other Union athletes had strong performances.
Claude-Luvier Bonnet ’18 finished fourth in the men’s long jump and qualified for the ECAC Championships with a personal best of 6.66 meters. Arden Kellner ’19 also finished third in the men’s mile run with a time of 4:26.04.
This weekend’s State Championships will be the culmination of a lot of hard work, and both the men and women’s teams are looking forward to the opportunity. “Regardless of how many points we score or where we place overall, everyone will be there to support one another and leave every ounce of effort we have on that track,” says Mountain. Bechu agrees, mentioning, “I’m really excited to see what our team does at States because everyone has been putting in the work during our lifts and practices, and postseason meets are where you tend to reap all the benefits from that work.”