The UR men’s track and field team continued its stellar season last weekend at Boston University’s St. Valentine Invitational. Running on a fast track against tough competition that included some very strong National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I teams, UR exceeded even its own expectations.

“We accomplished even more than we had hoped,” Head Coach John Izzo said. “It was a very successful weekend. We competed very well,”

As Izzo predicted several weeks ago, senior Andrew Wunder continued to improve his performance in the weight throw. He marked 18.35 meters at BU, finishing second among collegiate athletes and third overall. His mark set a new school record and bumped up his sixth-place Division III national ranking into the top five.

Several members of the team qualified for Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships in several events. Freshman Mark Stevens qualified for the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:20.49, which ranks first in the state. In the 200-meter dash, junior Kirk Bristol ran 22.76 seconds, qualifying him for ECAC’s.

Junior Matt Tierney had another outstanding weekend, claiming yet another school record. He ran 22.19 seconds in the 200-meter dash to finish 17th overall and place him among the top five in the country in Division III.

“I knew he was in great shape,” Izzo said. “He would have run even faster if he had run in the championship section and used starting blocks.”

Tierney was also a major contributor to the success of the distance medley relay team and the 4×400 meter relay team. The 4×400 meter relay team consisted of Bristol, Tierney, senior Brian MacIlvain and junior Chris Clark. With a time of 3:18.58, they provisionally qualified for NCAA Championships. The distance medley relay team of Tierney, juniors Chris Nolan and Clark and Stevens ran 10:08.04, narrowly missing out on setting a new school record.

“All of the splits individually were just outstanding,” Izzo said.

Despite the success of the relays, the members of each team are still up for grabs. “The relays aren’t set in stone. There are other guys who are right there trying to get on. As a coach it’s a great problem to have,” Izzo said.

The team wraps up the regualr season with a visit to Cornell University this weekend.

“In most cases this weekend, people are running for their postseason lives. You either keep advancing or you go home and start training for outdoors,” Izzo said. “We have a lot of guys on the cusp, itching to get into the state meet.”

This weekend also marks the official beginning of the New York State Championships, with the pentathlon being held Sunday at Cornell. Junior Andrew Lange, freshmen Tim Horan and Tyler Stapleton will all compete.

“I expect that we’ll score some points. They’ve been working very hard.” Izzo said.

If the pentathletes can score some early points in the state meet and those athletes on the border can get over the hump and qualify for the meet next weekend, this weekend’s events could go a long way in determining the team’s success in the upcoming weeks.

Swidler can be reached at dswidler@campustimes.org.



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