The freshmen on the women’s track and field team have certainly contributed to UR’s success this season. This past weekend, when the ‘Jackets hosted their annual UR Alumni Invitational, the impact of the newcomers was especially prominent. Two freshmen – Casey Green and Jacqueline Cinella – produced Eastern College Athletic Association Championship-qualifying performances at the invite.
Green qualified by winning both the 100 and 200 in times of 12.65 and 25.62, respectively, while Cinella grabbed a bid to ECACs when she placed second in the 400 hurdles, finishing in 1:05.62. Cinella’s time was just six-hundredths of a second shy of the first-place finisher, SUNY Fredonia freshman Kate Brett. Green and Cinella were also members of a 4×100 relay team that finished second.
Green’s time in the 200 was a personal best.
“I’m really glad that I’m seeing improvements in my times this early in the season,” Green said. “Hopefully, with some more good weather, I will be able to continue dropping time.”
Other freshmen performed well on the day as well. Freshman Kristin Fekete took second in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 2.80. In the 3,000 race walk, freshman Rebecca Glass came out on top with a time of 17:25.93.
UR also had five other ECAC-qualifying performances. Senior Anjuli Cherukuri grabbed a bid in the pole vault with a first-place finish, clearing the bar at 3.20 meters. Junior Jonelle Redhead earned two ECAC berths. Both her second-place finish in the hammer throw – a distance of 42.36 – and her sixth-place finish in discus – a distance of 33.06 – qualified the junior for the postseason tournament.
Senior Kellie Hasselwander got the lone distance bid for the ‘Jackets. Her time of 4:52.81 in the 1,500 – good enough for second place at the invite – earned her the ECAC berth. Sophomore Melissa Skevington also turned in a noteworthy performance in the long jump, taking third with a distance of 4.82.
Overall, the women were able to take advantage of the good weather conditions to improve on a number of times and distances.
“It was great to see the improvements on the team’s performances between the Widener [Invitational] and our home meet,” Green said. “Hopefully, we can continue this momentum through the rest of our regular season meets and on into our championship season.”
The men’s track and field team also had its fair share of accomplishments on Sunday. Again, freshmen played a huge role in the ‘Jackets’ success.
Freshman Brian Lang was the big winner for UR. His time of 9:37.69 in the 3,000 steeplechase earned him first place in the meet, as well as an ECAC bid. It also qualified him for Junior Nationals, which is conducted by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in June.
In the pole vault, freshman Dan Abud cleared the bar set at 4.25 meters. The distance was also good enough for an ECAC bid.
Additionally, UR logged four more ECAC-qualifying performances. Senior Mike Burgstrom got a berth in the hammer throw thanks to a throw of 52.20 meters. The distance also met the NCAA Championship Provisional Qualifying Standard.
Senior Mark Stevens’s time of 14:59.23 in the 5,000 was good enough for first place and a berth. Junior Dan Chebot earned first, in addition to a bid, in the 10,000 with a time of 32:34.34.
The 4×100 relay team – which took third at the invite – also qualified for ECACs with a time of 44.36.
Additionally, the ‘Jackets got strong performances from junior Malik Sams, who placed third in the 110 high hurdles with a time of 15.89, and senior Pat Hughes, who placed fourth in the 1,500.
The Yellowjackets will be at home again this weekend when they host the UR Invitational.
“I’m looking forward to our next home meet this weekend and our conference meet that we are hosting,” Green said. “Both the men’s and women’s teams have a lot of talent and potential to excel this season.”
Hilfinger is a member of the class of 2010.