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Feature: Dartmouth and Brown claim Ivy League victory over St Mary’s All-Stars

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Feature: Dartmouth and Brown claim Ivy League victory over St Mary’s All-Stars

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Post-meet report by Luke Allen, AU President at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham. In a sport that is known worldwide for its individuality, solo performances and personal achievements. Last Thursday’s inaugural Ivy League Athletics Meeting at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham captured the team, community and even family aspects of athletics. “After nearly a decade since the last visit of Dartmouth College and Brown University, it’s great to welcome both Ivy League institutions back to St Mary's,” were the words spoken by Andrew Reid-Smith, St Mary’s Director of Sport as he welcomed our invited guests through the University College’s white gates, accompanied by representatives from the Students’ Union, Conferencing, the Sport St Mary's team and our very own track and field athletes. The two US Ivy League Universities, joined forces prior to arriving at the Twickenham campus, via a luxury coach used by the England football team. This was part two of their European tour, having boarded a short flight to Heathrow Airport after their Athletics Competition at Limerick University on Sunday. St Mary’s, an institution world renowned for producing and supporting elite athletes over the last decade, had recruited travelling athletes themselves, in the shape of their alumni. The squad consisted of athletes from the past, present and future. Alumni Stephanie Twell, Emily Martin and Andy Vernon matched the current crop of talented student-athletes in Steve Scullion, Ben Coldray and Carla Letherby, further boosted by the future in Mutara Sheriff, Jatila Blake and Jonathon Winney. Needless to say both sets of teams had brought together strong sets of athletes, all with the sole ambition of demonstrating their passion for their respective universities in the hope they would be claiming the Ivy League Athletics champions crown at the close of the evening. Dartmouth and Brown team manager, Barry Harwick commented prior to the meet “We were here in 2005, when the construction of the athletics track was being talked about but had yet to be started. So it’s great to be back and able to compete, we’re really excited to get started.” It could not have started any better for Coach Harwick and his team as Dartmouth and Brown took a convincing early 3-1 lead with victories in the Men’s and Women’s Hammer and Men’s High Jump, despite the valiant efforts of our ‘future’ in Rafal Morawski and Jonathon Winney. It was a special moment to see Graduate assistant lecturer, Emily Martin back in the blue and white, after graduating in 2010, she went on to claim the first St Mary’s Ivy League point of the evening. “Winning the long jump felt fantastic,” said Emily. Her winning jump of 5.63m was clear of her rivals by 47cm. She commented further, “It was a great experience to compete alongside two well established American universities, the support and atmosphere was amazing.” At 6:40pm, the track events began with the eagerly anticipated return of Stephanie Twell wearing the blue and white quartered vest in the Women’s 800m. Twell didn’t disappoint, winning an Ivy League point for St Mary’s with a front running time of 2:05.66, ahead of teammate Montana Jones. Both later teamed up in the Women’s 4x400m to run what was a very gutsy race against our Dartmouth and Brown opposition. The evening was hosted on track by the ever-popular Andrew Julian, our very own American and MA Sports Journalism student. He not only entertained spectators and athletes with his on-the-spot interviews, but also thrilled the crowds with his post-event commentary and impressive athlete knowledge. It was a special touch that made the evening a welcoming spectacle for our American visitors. The sprint races saw the creation of a friendly athletic rivalry between the young but flamboyant Mutara Sheriff and Dartmouth and Brown 100m and 200m man, Connor Reilly. The latter taking victory in the 100m, which acted as part one clocking an impressive time of 10.89 seconds, slightly ahead of the former in 11.01 seconds. The 200m followed on as part two and brought even more excitement giving Sheriff the opportunity to gain some revenge, fast out of the blocks and in front from gun to tape, he did just that with a winning time of 22.25 seconds ahead of Reilly’s 22.62 recording. Both gentlemen claimed an all-important Ivy League point for the respective teams. As the evening progressed we saw the return of high profile alumni athletes, who have always been in support of the athletics programme St Mary’s continues to provide. Andy Vernon, Keith Gerrard and Rory Chesser, who was eventual winner of the Ivy League point, toed the start line in what many dubbed ‘The race of the night’, the Men’s 1500m. This race also welcomed the inclusion of Great Britain Internationals, John McDonnell and Lewis Moses, who also lined up against Dartmouth and Brown athletes Dan Lowry and Will Geoghegan. The latter two finishing 4th and 5th respectively, both impressively clocking sub 3:45 times. However, the winners spot went to guest athlete, former European junior champion and newly crowd England under 23 Champion, Adam Cotton in a time of noteworthy time of 3:43.25. With the sun beginning to set, attention once again turned to the field events and Kai Jones in the Men’s Shot Putt. The crowd roared as he threw a comfortable but nonetheless imposing 17.10m to win and take the Ivy League point ahead of Dartmouth and Brown’s Clavette Courtland’s 15.90 throw. All results calculated, Dartmouth and Brown were leading overall with 13 Ivy League points to the 11 of St Mary’s as the event headed into the relays. All four races were exciting and pulled together what had been an evening full of drama, friendship and team camaraderie. The Women’s 4x100m saw the BUCS Silver medal winning team take to the track with future student Jatila Blake joining the squad that went on to claim victory. Dartmouth and Brown then put on an outstanding display of strength in depth as they went on to claim Ivy League points in the Men’s 4x100m before coming from behind on two occasions to win the Men’s and Women’s 4x400m races. Those wins took the overall score to 16-12 in favour of Dartmouth and Brown, crowning them champions of the Inaugural Ivy League Athletics Meet. For the distant onlookers, watching the exchanges of team kit and congratulatory handshakes between both sets of teams, you wouldn’t have realised an intensely competitive athletics match had just taken place. You can view the full results list here Ivy League Athletics Match Results 
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