Langston Hood, Senior Sports Writer
The NCAC heptathlon and pentathlon took place last weekend, Feb. 18 and 19, and Wooster was able to showcase another incredible performance as Claudia Partridge ’23 emerged victorious in the pentathlon, while Davis Patterson ’24 came in second and Vell Robinson ’25 finished ninth in the heptathlon. These competitions are the epitome of well-rounded athleticism as they require athletes to partake in seven events in the heptathlon and five events in the pentathlon. Athletes must be well-versed in all things track and field to have any hope at finding their way onto the podium.
Partridge spoke to the challenge of this competition saying, “The most difficult part of multis for me is the mental game. This was the first time I ran the 60-meter hurdles in a year. Going into the competition I was very, very nervous because of this and because I have suffered from multiple hamstring injuries in the past two years. Typically track athletes compete in one to three events at a meet so doing five so close together is very physically and mentally demanding. By the time I get to the last two events, I am very tired.”
The event took place at Denison University, as Saturday began with the men’s 60-meter dash. Patterson and Robinson got off to slow starts, as they finished within two milliseconds of each other, with Robinson besting his teammate to start the day; the pair finished in sixth and seventh place. The long jump saw Patterson improve, but only beating Robinson by 47 points, keeping the pair within range of each other. Patterson would start to pull away during the shot put with his mark of 11.68 meters, keeping him within a stone’s throw of first place, while Robinson would stumble and finish in ninth place. At the end of Saturday, Patterson boasted a score of 2,463 points, while Robinson had 2,060 points to his name with three more events still to go.
Sunday would play host to the Claudia Partridge ’23 show as she opened the day with a third place finish in the 60-meter hurdles, putting her just 62 points out of first place. The next event would be Partridge’s speciality: the high jump, which saw her demolish the competition, clearing 1.68 meters on her second attempt, before being stifled by the height of 1.71 meters. For perspective, the runner up in the high jump cleared a height of 1.50 meters, which is the height that Partridge started with before raising the bar six times. This awarded her a massive 830 points, while her seeming competitors in the hurdles, earned 399 and 340 points, vaulting Partridge to the top of the leaderboard. After finishing in the middle of the pack in both the shot put and long jump, still held a considerable lead of 300 points over her next closest competitor. That being said, she only needed a decent performance in the 800-meter run to win the pentathlon, and she did just that by winning 440 points and holding off her competition to cement her victory. Partridge was very opinionated about the 800-meter run, but she knew exactly what she had to do, “The 800-meter run is the last event in the pent and is also my least favorite. Going into the race I knew I needed to be within 16 seconds of the woman in second in order to maintain my first-place position. This really helped me push through the fatigue and work hard throughout the whole race.”
The high jump played a vital role in Partridge’s victory, which she spoke to as she said, “My main event is actually high jump so that is the event that I look forward to the most in the pentathlon. It is also where I was able to pick up the most points. I think I jumped 18 cm (~7 in.) higher than the next best competitor. It definitely felt great to be able to take full advantage of my skills in high jump during the pent. I think that was the main reason why I was able to win.”
There was still everything to run, jump and vault for on the men’s side as the day opened with Patterson finishing fifth in the 60-meter hurdle and taking home 709 points, while Robinson came in eighth. Much like Partridge, Patterson had one event where he absolutely dominated the field, this being the pole vault. These competitions are unique, because Patterson’s experience in the pole vault allowed him to start at the height of 4.14 meters, while the closest the runner up got was 4.04 meters after eight jumps. Patterson won with ease, out jumping his competition by a full half meter to take away 743 points. Patterson would finish strong by winning the 1000-meter run, just in front of Jacob Brown of Denison who would go on to win the competition. The margins were slim as there were just 28 points between Brown and Patterson, as both received all-NCAC honors.
Partridge also received all-NCAC honors and was named the Women’s Track & Field Athlete of the Week for her nearly record-breaking performance. Patterson improved on his own school record by 458 points thanks to his incredible performances across a handful of events. Both Partridge and Patterson will have their eyes on more hardware with the NCAC Championships coming this weekend, where they will hope to capitalize on their respective specialties.
Partridge expressed her excitement about the championships, despite the difficulties this season has posed, saying, “I am super excited to continue championships this upcoming weekend at DePauw! Because of my 168 cm (~5′ 6″) mark, I am ranked first in the conference and seventh in the nation. I would love to earn back-to-back indoor conference titles in high jump. My season got off to a slow start and I have been struggling with anxiety around qualifying for nationals and my hamstring injury. My performance in the pent relieved lots of that pressure and I am looking forward to having fun at the (or capital C) conference. It will be nice to be back with the team for the rest of conference and be able to cheer for everyone this weekend.”
Wish your Fighting Scots luck at the upcoming NCAC Indoor Track & Field Championships!