Some people look forward to the start of spring because it is the end of another tough school year, but not the men&s track team. Spring is another season to improve upon what they have already accomplished 8212; and they have accomplished a lot in the fall and winter seasons.
In the fall, men&s cross-country team sent sophomore Dave Messenheimer all the way to Spokane, Washington to compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Div. III Championships. As a team, they ended up placing in the top ten at the NCAA Regional meet, hosted by UR.
The wind and snow of Rochester&s winter also brought in a blizzard of broken records in the indoor track season. In all, three records were smashed 8212; the 4×200-meter relay, 4×400 meter relay and the 500-meter run. The team once again had a strong showing at the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Association Championships and placed in the top ten.
That was the past and the Yellowjackets are ready to eat up some more competition in their quest for a outdoor team track and field championship.
There is only one way to describe the key athletes of the outdoor team, &We are too balanced to have a key athlete,& coach John Izzo said. &We have people at the top of every event.&
The team has noticed a steady improvement out of their athletes. The freshman class has added the extra depth that the Yellowjackets lacked from previous years. &Our freshmen are a focused group of athletes,& Izzo said.
Out of the 33 athletes on the team UR has only six seniors. This may pose a problem to some teams, but to the Yellowjackets have enough depth to cope with it. Co-captains Sam Albert and Jon Coyles will once again control the reigns for the track team.
Andy Locke, Chen Kenyon, Mac Bonafede and Matt Powers will also provide senior leadership for the team. &We have a small but mighty group of seniors that can lead this team to a championship,& Izzo said.
Probably the strongest group of athletes on this team would be the sophomores and juniors.
Juniors Scott Rhodes and Andy MacMillan have shown tremendous improvement throughout the year.
MacMillan was the 800-meter run champion at the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Indoor Championships. Juniors Justin Lamontagne, John Feroleto and Damien Leonard add depth to the already strong sprint crew. And junior Ayaz Abdulla will provide the team with points from the jumping pit.
Meanwhile the sophomore class also gives the team tremendous depth. Adding to the outstanding distance team is Justin Panarese as well as Messenheimer. Andy Pagano will team up with Abdulla to help bring home the gold in the jumping pit. Dan Quinn will provide the extra strength in the throwing department. And Brian Strandberg is coming off a strong first season of indoor after taking a break last year and hoping to continue his success.
UR&s schedule proves to be one of the toughest they&ve had in years.
The Cornell Invitational and the UR Alumni Invitational are a main focus for this year&s team. Besides those two major meets individuals will travel to Philadelphia to compete in the Penn Relays in mid April.
In outdoor track and field every meet becomes the most important meet. &For spring track every nice day is an important one. Those are the days when we get a lot of qualifiers [for states],& Izzo said.
With the tough competition and the tough Rochester weather UR will try to end the year on a high note and bring home the team championship.