At the conclusion of the New York State Collegiate Track Conference (NYSCTC) championship meet this past weekend, every member of the University of Rochester Men’s Track and Field team circled up to give their best rendition of the UR school anthem, “The Genesee.”
The team huddled around long time and soon to be retired distance coach John Izzo as he hoisted the first-place trophy in the air for all members to see. This was the men’s team’s first indoor NYSCTC championship win since 1967, quenching a 48-year drought.
The team was able to tally 147 points, a finish that was 37 points ahead of second-place Ithaca College. Points came from a variety of events and finishes, highlighted by a first-place finish by R.J. Morrow in the 60m hurdles and a 1-2-3 finish from Jon Kuberka, Boubacar Diallo and Jeffrey Hrebenach in the long jump.
In addition to some top finishes, many members were able to secure spots fairly high on the podium, and every member of the team stepped up their performance for the monumental meet.
“Ultimately, we had 50 guys who competed for each other and believed in one another,” senior captain Max Sims said. “The week leading up to the meet, the atmosphere around practice was that this was our year. We had some injuries along the way, but the guys stepped up when we needed them.”
The team’s depth and effort from every member allowed Rochester to capture every single point possible with numerous personal records from individuals on both days, and by the time of the final events of the day, UR was ecstatic about the outcome they knew was inevitable. Sims said, “This championship was truly a team effort and I cannot be more proud of this bunch of guys.”
Yet as a whole, the success of the indoor season was not an easy endeavor. Throughout the early parts of the season, many members of the team had overcome a variety of ailments, and some athletes projected to score very highly were unable to compete. Even in the NYSCTC meet at which the team was so successful, UR was not expected to compete as well as it did.
“The meet was not perfect by any means, and that’s what makes this team so special,” senior captain Mark Rollfs said. “We dealt with injuries and training issues on several fronts, and unexpected things always happen. We were able to have people step up and contribute to fill gaps ‘on the fly,’ which allowed us to finish out on top. I’m very pleased with how we performed.”
Through the great depth of skill and unstoppable effort from all members, the team was able to overcome any adversity thrown at them. Even with a 50-person roster, all gaps were filled due to the dedication of the athletes: exactly what is hoped of a championship track team.
With the final championship meets of the indoor season and the beginning of the outdoor season on the horizon, it will be exciting to see where all UR’s potential will bring the team. Congratulations to the University of Rochester Men’s Track and Field Team on capturing the first place in their conference!
Women’s Team Earns Third Place
The women’s team strung together many strong performances, earning a third-place finish behind first-place Ithaca College and second-place Saint Lawrence University.
The team was able to capture first place three different times during the meet, including senior Becky Galasso’s record setting performance in the 500-meter run. Galasso led a wire-to-wire finish with a time 1:16.38, setting a new NYSCTC record in the process.
In addition, the team also demonstrated great depth by taking first place in both the 4×400 meter relay as well as in the 4×200 meter relay.
Other podium performances were captured in a multitude of events. Numerous athletes posted performances meeting the qualifying standard for the ECAC indoor track and field championship in New York City this upcoming weekend.
Included in these qualifying finishes were runner-up performances from Alyssa Arre in the mile, Samantha Kitchen in the 800-meter and Victoria Stepanova in the 3000 meter.
The third place finish in the meet matches the outcome from the 2014 NYSCTC indoor track and field championships and cements the UR Women’s Track and Field team as a continually strong competitor in the conference. The team has had significant conference success and is hoping to qualify members to compete at the NCAA Division III championships with impressive performances at the ECAC championship meet this weekend.
The consistency of great performances in championship meets in the past couple years position the team for a very strong outdoor season and a bright future.
Kuhrt is a member of the class of 2017.