The men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted the UR Alumni Invitational at Fauver Stadium on Saturday. The story of the day ? and the entire season ? was the weather.
Saturday was an awful day even by Rochester standards, as there was a constant downpour throughout the day that the teams could have used as an excuse for poor performances. Instead the teams remained focused, and despite women’s coach Barbara Hartwig calling Saturday “possibly the worst weather conditions I’ve seen in my 13 years here,” the men’s team placed first overall and the women’s team finished third.
In fact, the men’s team managed to score in every event in which it competed. “That was the main factor that enabled us to win the meet,” men’s coach John Izzo said.
Izzo also agreed with Hartwig, adding that it was “one of the more miserable days weather-wise that I’ve been involved in” but that they “responded well and outperformed the other teams.”
With 151 points, the men defeated second place SUNY Geneseo by 20 points and third-place Buffalo State by 75 points.
Brian Strandberg won the 200-meter dash in 23.07 seconds. Andy MacMillan won the 800-meter run in 1:56.3 and UR won the 4×400-meter relay in 3:30.49. Andrew Wunder won the discus with a throw of 115 feet, 6 inches.
The women were involved in a much tighter competition, as they finished third with 115 points, yet only scored 16 fewer points than first place SUNY Oswego and just 13 fewer points than SUNY Geneseo. SUNY Brockport was a distant fourth, scoring 83.50 points, putting the leading three teams in a class all by themselves.
“The top three teams were clearly the best,” Hartwig said. “Any of the three could have won.”
Some of the top performances came from the women’s 4×400 and 4×800-meter relay teams, both of which finished first. There were also some strong individual performances, including Katie O’Brien’s first-place finish in the 400-meter dash in 59.53 seconds despite the slippery conditions.
Hartwig attributed the victories in these events to the competitors’ “good approaches” and “aggressive running.”
Megan Sullivan had the especially difficult task of competing in the hammer throw, and even with the potential for the hammer to easily slip she placed first with a distance of 128 feet, 10 inches.
This weekend the teams will travel to Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., where they will compete in a non-scoring meet. Because team scores will not be kept, there will be less pressure and more of a chance to experiment various people in different events.
In meets such as this weekend’s, there is an opportunity for many of the athletes to improve their chances of qualifying for events later this season such as state championships, or if they have already qualified, to continue to improve and prepare for those competitions.
Swidler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.