The UR men’s track and field team went to St. Lawrence University on Saturday hoping to qualify a number of people for the rapidly approaching New York State Championships, the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships and National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III National Championship meets.
They did just that, in addition to finishing an impressive second out of eight teams in their first scoring meet of the indoor season.
“That’s pretty much where we had expected to finish,” Assistant Coach Ken Switnicki said. “Winning the meet was not the goal. The goal was to get athletes qualified for postseason events.”
While this may seem to contradict the objectives of many other sports, by having more individuals qualified for postseason events, they will still be around to help the team later in the season when it matters most.
With 159 points, SLU won their home meet by a wide margin. The UR team finished second with 123 points, easily ahead of Alfred University, which totaled 76 points. SUNY Plattsburgh was fourth with 60.50 points.
With 54 points, Rochester Institute of Technology was fifth, edging out Hamilton College, which had 49 points. SUNY Oswego was seventh with 19.50 points, and Nazareth College placed eighth with seven points.
Regardless of the team statistics, it was another very strong meet for many individuals.
“At least 75 percent of the individuals were happy with their performances,” Switnicki said.
Graduate student Andrew Wunder had his best mark of the season in the weight throw, and his distance of 17.42 meters currently ranks him sixth in the country.
If last year’s NCAA Championship qualifying statistics hold, however, he will need to continue to improve in order to reach nationals.
“He’s going to improve, throw one meter further and break the school record,” Head Coach John Izzo said.
Junior Matt Tierney proved he can dominate not only the 500-meter dash, which he won in each of the previous two meets, but also the 55-meter and 200-meter dashes.
In winning the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.58 seconds, Tierney broke the UR school record, which was set in 1994, by one hundredth of a second.
This weekend, the team goes to Syracuse University, where there will be a mix of schools from all three divisions.
“We’ll see some of the stronger D-III programs there, and there will also be a smattering of other schools,” Izzo said. “It’ll be good competition.”
Izzo also called the Syracuse facility “one of the fastest flat tracks in the country.” On a fast track facing solid opponents, the stage is set to continue qualifying people for postseason events.
Swidler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.