Photo by Matthew Claybrook
During the first weekend of April, the Trinity University track and field team competed in the David Noble Relays in San Angelo where the Tigers earned top marks in several events.
On the first day of competition, junior Androniki Defteraiou competed in her first heptathlon, in which she tied for first in her heat of the event.
“The heptathlon was something I’ve been waiting for since last year. While preparing, I made sure that I was aware of what the schedule would be and that I knew the technique of each event well. Since not all of my coaches would be at the meet, I also worked on knowing exactly what I needed to improve in each event so that I could correct myself,” Defteraiou said.
Defteraiou completed the seven events with a score of 3,967. She won the long-jump competition with a mark of 5.07 meters and finished fourth in the javelin throw and high-jump events. She also placed second in the 100-meter hurdles, crossing the finish line in a personal-best time of 15.48 seconds, placing her third in Trinity history in the event.
“Focusing on each event separately is very important in the heptathlon. Before each event, I tried to concentrate on the things I should and should not do while competing without worrying about the rest of the day. This helped me get ready mentally because physically I’ve already been prepared through practices,” Defteraiou said.
Defteraiou recorded a third-place finish in the 200 meters at 26.88 seconds. She finished just 0.03 meters off her personal best in the shot put, reaching a mark of 7.61 meters. In the final event of the competition, she ran the 800 meters in a personal-record time of 2:42 to secure a first-place finish.
“The 800 is the hardest for me, but I had the mindset to finish strong in the last event, which kept me going throughout the race. I was extremely happy to finish first in my group. It was not originally my goal as I hoped to just have a good personal performance with as many points as I could get, but the result made me even happier,” Defteraiou said.
In regards to the success she has attained this season, Defteraiou gives credit to many of her supporters.
“I’m always thankful for every single one of my coaches and their work and help as I would definitely not be where I am without them. But this week I especially want to give thanks to coach Dimitri, who took the time to travel with me and help me during my first heptathlon. I want to give a shoutout to my mama all the way back in Greece for motivating me even from thousands of miles away and to Tyler for being the most supportive boyfriend I could ever ask for,” Defteraiou said.
On the final day of competition, several Tiger sprinters also recorded strong showings.
Sophomore Seve Rodriguez ran a personal-best time of 55.89 seconds in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, which was just one second away from qualifying for the finals.
“This was my second hurdle race ever, so my only goal was to go out there and do better than I did in the previous week. I knew that I was going to be racing against some strong competition, so I told myself before the race began that if I were to stay in close contact with them for the first 300 meters, I should be able to catch them by the end,” Rodriguez said.
Senior Abigail Bannon-Schneebeck set a new personal record in the women’s 400 meters at 59.58 seconds, earning her a spot on Trinity’s all-time top 10 list in the event. This strong showing came just a week after she broke the all-time record for the 100-meter hurdles.
“I don’t typically run the open 400, so I’m not really used to the race, which in some regards probably helps my performance because there is not much pressure on it. I also think that running the 400 hurdles has conditioned me very well for 400’s. For the 400 hurdles, I am trying to qualify for nationals. It’s been a goal since my freshman year,” Bannon-Schneebeck said.
Next week, the Tiger team will split to travel to meets at the University of the Incarnate Word and at the University of California at San Diego. Defteraiou, Bannon-Schneebeck and Rodriguez will all be attending the California meet.
“In regards to California this weekend, I am excited to see and cheer on our team as we compete against DI schools. I also live in California, so I am excited for my parents and friends to come and see me race,” Rodriguez said.
For Bannon-Schneebeck, who is competing in her final season of collegiate track eligibility, this year’s conference tournament will be her last as a Tiger.
“Track is what has grounded me in my academic and personal life for the past four years, and I am incredibly grateful for all of the experiences I have had because of it. It has exposed me to an amazing group of people, many of whom have become my very best friends.” Bannon-Schneebeck said.
The Tigers will compete in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships at home, beginning on Friday, April 26. Bannon-Schneebeck explained that the team has also set a clear goal for the tournament.
“Our goal is to win. Our whole team is incredibly focused on winning both the men and women’s sides, and we’re starting to gear up and prepare to do whatever we need to do to get there. I think it will be a very exciting meet,” Bannon-Schneebeck said.