PASADENA (Mar. 30, 2019) – The Caltech men's track & field team had itself a big day in front its home fans thanks to some key performances from its captains and senior leaders. The Beavers hosted their first home meet in three years on the renovated South Field on Saturday afternoon, and competed against the likes of Whittier College, California Lutheran University and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges.
Junior Simon Ricci (Chicago, Ill. / Latin School of Chicago) put forth a gutsy performance in the 5000, keeping up with the Poets' national qualifier particularly at the onset. Ricci faded slightly following the strong start, but a well-timed kick held off CMS' top runner for second place amidst warming conditions later in the day. Senior Michael Hashe (Plano, Texas / Texas Acad. of Math and Science) joined Ricci in the 5000 while junior Jesse Cai ( McLean, Va. / Thomas Jefferson Science and Technology), meanwhile led Caltech in the sprinting events. Cai achieved season-best times in the 100 and 200 dash, posting an 11.51 and 23.08 respectively for top-nine finishes. Freshman Shri Deshmukh (Montgomery, N.J. / Montgomery) joined Cai the Beavers in the sprints, placing sixth with a 52.83 in the 400 dash while also having a place on the 4x400 relay team. Cai, Deshmukh, along with Harvey Scriven (London, England / Winchester College) and Matthew Earney (San Diego, Calif. / Del Norte) gave the Beavers a third-place 3:31.51 with Cai's run on the second leg playing an important role. Sophomore Vaibhav Anand (Northbrook, Ill. / North Shore Country Day) rounded out the sprinting group by competing in the 100 dash, while Scriven and junior Alex Lettenberger (Glen Ellyn, Ill. / Glenbard West) joined Cai in the 200 dash. Lettenberger also represented the Beavers in the pole vault, where his 3.35m vault led to a new PR.
"It was great to see how our captains performed at their first-ever home meet," Head Coach Ben Raphelson said. "They really embodied the competitive spirit paired with smart execution that we're striving for with the whole team."
Senior Rohan Choudhury (Cupertino, Calif. / Monta Vista) led the way for Caltech in the 1500. Choudhury crossed the finish line in 4:15.78, four seconds off his best time ever. Junior Tanner Moore (Roseville, Calif. / Oakmont) trailed Choudhury by nine seconds, while sophomore Haoyuan Sun (Alexandria, Va. / Thomas Jefferson Science & Tech) also competed and freshman August Chen (Redmond, Wash. / Redmond) made his debut in the event. Additionally, sophomore Spencer Morgenfeld (Palo Alto, Calif. / Palo Alto) topped his debut 3000 steeplechase time from last year by 14 seconds with Saturday's 10:32.26. Earney led a three-man Caltech group in the 800, posting a fourth-place 2:01.11, coming just two seconds away from a PR. Junior Tiger Lu and freshman Kellen Rodriguez also competed, with Rodriguez achieving a four-second PR thanks to his 2:06.14.
"Our 4-year seniors, Michael and Rohan, also really made the most of the opportunity today," Raphelson said. "They hadn't been able to race on their home track since their freshmen years and really threw themselves into it with bold race plans. Their final times came up a bit short of their goals, but I was incredibly happy to see them giving their all and reaching deep."
The field events belonged the freshman Peter Kulits and sophomore Daniel Rostovtsev. Kulits took first-place in the men's triple jump thanks to his best jump of 13.35m, just four centimeters off the mark he set at the Rossi Relays that earned him SCIAC Athlete of the Week. Rostovtsev, meanwhile competed in the hammer and javelin, achieving third place in the former event with a 34.38m throw.
Raphelson and the Beavers will kick off the month of April with the Pomona-Pitzer Invite on Saturday, Apr. 6 at 10 a.m.