Sophomore Jake Budny capped off a weekend of track and field performances by decisively winning the New York State Collegiate Track Conference pentathlon championship in front of a substantial home crowd in the Goergen Field House.
His achievement positions the team nicely for the rest of the state competitions this weekend and the crucial Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference meet next week.
“This was big,” Budny said. “I’ve been hurt for the past month, so it was big to come back for this. It was good for the whole team, too, because now we’re really in the running to win the state championship.”
Budny was one of three from the UR men’s team to place in the event’s six scoring places. Seniors Andy MacMillan and Ayaz Abdulla came in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Barbi leads women
From the women’s team, freshman Anni Barbi captured sixth place with a personal best in that event.
The athletes went into Sunday’s pentathlon with Saturday’s Cornell Invitational still fresh on their minds. The Cornell meet was a last chance for them to hit a qualifying time for the state championship.
Many UR athletes met that goal. Senior Damien Leonard won his heat in the 500-meter dash with a time of 1:08.02. Sophomore Greg Dusek placed second in his heat in the men’s long jump with a mark of 6.60 meters. Dusek and Junior Brian Strandberg finished second and third in the 200-meter dash. Strandberg took second in his heat in the 400-meter dash. Senior Justin Lamontagne finished second in both the 400-meter dash and the 60-meter high hurdles.
Sophomore Michelle Gabriele set a personal best while winning her heat of the 500-meter dash in 1:23.27. Senior Raynna Russo finished first in the 800-meter with a time of 2:35.88. Sophomore Angela Burgess placed second in the 200-meter, and junior Lisa Johns finished second in the 3,000-meter.
“We did pretty well,” women’s coach Barbara Hartwig said. “A lot of people were still recovering from illnesses, so we weren’t 100 percent.”
Hartwig and men’s coach John Izzo are both optimistic going into this weekend’s events.
“Last year we underachieved overall,” Hartwig said. “This year, I feel really good going into the state meet. People are really focused and ready to compete well. My highest concern is the flu having gone through campus.”
The team is right where Izzo wants it to be. UR’s greatest asset is that it is a balanced team, with strong performers in almost every area. Izzo’s only concern is the lack of a power sprinter.
“Five teams have a real opportunity to win if things go their way, and we’re one of them,” Izzo said.
The state championship takes place Friday and Saturday at St. Lawrence University.
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