December 7, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 45°F


High-powered pair packs potent punch

The pentathletes for the women’s indoor track team are proving they can post big numbers despite being small in number.

Senior Ashley Dublac and sophomore Rachael Travers represent the Bombers’ only two pentathletes after the team sent five competitors to last season’s Ithaca Pentathlon at Cornell University. However, this dynamic duo had an impressive showing at this season’s pentathlon Jan. 20.

Travers said she used her second career pentathlon to establish a benchmark finish for each of the five events.

“I went into the day just trying to see what I was capable of,” she said. “I had done a little more distance work over the break, so I was excited to do the 800.”

Shawn Steiner/The IthacanSophomore Rachael Travers clears another obstacle in the 60-meter hurdles race of the Cornell Pentathlon on Jan. 20 in Barton Hall at Cornell University. Travers finished the race in 10.93 seconds and placed fifth in overall points.

Travers came to the college specializing in the hurdles, but competed in all five pentathlon events last season — hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and the 800-meter run. This season, she improved her finish in the high jump by 0.4 meters and cleared a career-best distance of 4.36 meters in the long jump.

Dublac said pentathletes must engage in more mental preparation when practicing for a pentathlon than for a typical dual-meet.

“Track is as much an individual sport as it is a team,” she said. “It’s easy to let your mind get the best of you, especially when many events require specific technique.”

Senior Emma Dewart, who rewrote her own school record with a total of 3,565 points to win last year’s Ithaca Pentathlon, said each event requires a lot of muscle memory from many areas of the body.

“Each event demands the same from you both physically and mentally,” Dewart said. “When you do three, four or five events in one meet, you are constantly having to switch how you prepare.”

A recurring shoulder injury this season made it hard to compete in the shot put, Travers said, so the 800-meter run came easiest for her.

“There’s not too much strategy behind the race,” Travers said. “You just have to get out fast when the gun goes off and finish strong,”

The shot put was Dublac’s best event, as she finished second with a heave of 9.07 meters that earned her 469 of her 2,398 total points.

Dublac said her nerves got the best of her at times during the meet, but Travers’ optimistic attitude got her to relax eventually.

“Going into the meet, I was a little nervous because it was our first pent, but at the same time I was relaxed because there wasn’t much on the line,” she said. “Rachael has a great heart and is always trying to motivate her teammates to do well.”

Though Travers said she still did not perform up to her own expectations in all five of the events, she said this helped her set realistic goals for the rest of the indoor season.

“At the meet I did not do exceptionally well in anything,” she said. “But I feel like it was a good base meet for the season.”

Dewart said though everyone was happy to see the team succeed against pentathletes from tough opponents like Cornell and SUNY-Cortland, the South Hill squad’s collective finish in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference and the NCAA Indoor Championships is what matters most.

“Although track can be a very individualized sport, when it comes to state, regional and national competitions, it comes down to how you do as a team versus how you do individually,” Dewart said.