Gators participate at first-ever NCAC Pentathlon

Three Gators participated in the first ever North Athletic Coast Conference Indoor Track and Field Pentathlon Saturday at Oberlin.

The Pentathlon consisted of five separate track and field events: high jump, long jump, shot put, 55–meter hurdles and the 800–meter run.

Because an indoor track is smaller for events, the NCAA left combined events for the outdoor season. However, last year, the NCAA held its first ever pentathlon during the national indoor championships.

“Indoor track tries to mirror outdoor track as much as it possibly can,” said Coach Bill Ross.  “The Pentathlon gives multi-event athletes an opportunity to do something indoor like they do outdoor.”

Each participant received a fixed number of points based on their mark or time in each event. The points are added up to determine the overall winners.

“It’s you versus the scoring table more than it is you versus the other athletes,” Ross said.

Because the Pentathlon was the first official event of the NCAC Indoor Championships, the top eight finishers received points for their team score.

Not only does Ross have to find the athletes willing to participate in the event, he has to enter the athletes that will be able to produce results.

“You have to find the athletes who have the speed to be able to do the sprinting events, the jumping ability to do the jumping events, the strength to do the field events and the endurance to do the distance events,” Ross said.

On the women’s team, Emily Norton, ’11, earned five points with fourth place while Caileigh Hughes, ’11, placed ninth.

In addition to claiming a third place in the high jump, Norton shared third place finishes in the shot put and long jump.

She concluded the event with sixth places finishes in both the 55-meter hurdles and the 800–meter run.

With a total of nine girls, Norton was pleased with a fourth place finish. Her goals going into the meet were to improve her previous marks.

“I didn’t really know what to expect since I’ve never done it before,” Norton said. “I improved in three out of the five events on the season so I was pretty happy with it.”

Though this was the first Pentathlon in the conference, Norton has previously participated in the heptathlon during Outdoor NCAC Track and Field Championships.

During a regular meet, athletes typically only run two events compared to the Pentathlon’s five.

Considering Norton regularly participates in four events, she does not follow this typical pattern.

“I do like to have a lot of events in a meet, so that’s one of the reasons I like the Pentathlon,” Norton said.

Tim Hassett, ’11, of the men’s team placed sixth overall, earning three points for the Gators.

“I just wanted to do my best and give it my all,” Hassett said.

Hassett’s top finish came in the 55–meter hurdles when he earned fourth place.
Hassett and Hughes were newcomers to the combined event competition while Norton has previously participated in the outdoor women’s heptathlon.
Each athlete trains according to his or her specific events. However, during practice, they are also expected to “dabble” in the other events in the Pentathlon said Ross. 
The Gators will continue next weekend with eight points already under their belt.
“I like to be quoted saying, ‘We are not an indoor team,’” Ross said. “That’s not our emphasis.”
“We put our best foot forward for that competition,” Ross said. “We want to do well, but we don’t change our training to peak for it. Our emphasis is on the outdoor track championships.”
The NCAC Indoor Track and Field Championships will continue March 5 and 6 at Denison, and then the outdoor season will begin.