The men’s and women’s track teams hosted the appropriately named “University of Rochester Snowflake Invitational” on Saturday, where both teams finished first in their first respective competitions of the New Year.

Coach John Izzo said of the men’s team performance, “although we were a little rusty, we performed decently overall.” He added that “it’s hard to take five weeks off and jump into competition after only a week of practice, but it was very adequate on our part.”

For each event, a first place finish earned 10 points. Second place was worth eight points, third place was worth six points, fourth place was worth four, and fifth was worth two, and a sixth place finish was good enough for one point.

Men’s results

With 181 total points, the UR men’s team defeated Rochester Institue of Technology, who had 145 points. Alfred State finished third with 111 points, while Mansfield University had 60 points. Roberts Wesleyan had 48 points and Oneonta had 33 points.

In the 400 meter dash, senior Brian Strandberg, junior Greg Dusek, freshman Matt Tierney and sophomore Scott Bambrick finished second through fifth. A UR team did the same in the 500, but this time it was junior Mike Hakiel, sophomores Ethan McKenney and Andrew Lawler and freshman Tim Samuelson, who combined for an additional 20 points.

In the 800, junior Alex Voetsch and freshman Chris Nolan finished first and second and sophomore Matt Rodems and freshman Chris Clark were fifth and sixth overall. Sophomore Dan Duett tacked on a point in the 1,000 meter run with a sixth place finish. Nolan improved upon his second place finish in his previous race by winning the 1,500, with senior Justin Panarese coming in fifth.

Finishing the 3,000 less than a second apart, freshman Kevin McGettrick and sophomore Terrance Cordner were fourth and fifth overall. Members of the cross- country team continued to contribute when sophomores Ian Slattery and Peter Nabozny finished third and fourth in the 5,000 meter run, combining for ten more points.

In the 55 meter high hurdles, junior Jacob Budny finished fourth, adding an additional four points to the UR total. The UR men dominated the relays, winning the 200-meter relay, the 400-meter relay and the 800-meter relay. Senior Andrew Pagano finished third in the high jump, and Budny added to his fourth place finish in the 55-meter high hurdles with a tie for fourth in the high jump as well.

The pole vault had two additional UR scorers, with junior Adam Smith tying for second and junior Giancarlo Rondash earning fourth place. Budny finished fourth once again, this time in the long jump. Juniors Andrew Wunder and Zach Opsitnick and freshman Andrew Lange were fourth, fifth and sixth respectively in the shot put, and Wunder and Lange added first and sixth place results in the weight throw to solidify the victory.

Coach Izzo said of his athletes, “The meet proved that some worked very hard over break and there were also some who didn’t.” “We need to make major improvements in the next month, which I know we will,” he continued.

This weekend, the team heads to St. Lawrence University where they will compete on what Coach Izzo called “a very fast track.” He said that the goal of the meet will be to continue “trying to qualify individuals for state meets, ECAC’s and hopefully Regionals and Nationals, then next week we’ll probably set up to try and score well as a team.”

Women’s results

Hopefully by the time the women’s track and field outdoor season starts in late March, it will be a little warmer than it’s been over the past few weeks. But with indoor competitions for now, the weather is one thing that shouldn’t hinder their performances. In what seemed to be a common theme for the men’s and women’s teams regarding the long winter break, Coach Barbara Hartwig echoed men’s Coach John Izzo’s sentiments that both teams were “a little rusty.” Coach Hartwig continued that despite the expected rust, “they performed well and handled the competition really well.”

With 208 points, the UR women easily defeated second place Roberts Wesleyan, 149 points. Oneonta came in third with 70, Alfred State was fourth, followed by Mansfield in fifth and RIT in sixth.

In the 55-meter dash, junior Denise Brown was second, good enough for eight points. The 200 was a strong race for the UR women, with senior Angela Burgess finishing second, freshman Lia Boland finishing fourth and senior Elizabeth Conway finishing fifth. Burgess topped her second place finish in the 200 with a first place finish in the 400 meter dash. Junior Shelly Gabriele also added a third place finish in that event.

In the 500, sophomore Katie O’Brien led the way with another first place finish for the UR women. The 800-meter run added 15 more points to the team’s total, with freshman Kate Pohlman coming in second, and sophomore Elizabeth Boerman, freshman Christina Purpura and sophomore Rebecca Braun following fourth through sixth.

In her first indoor competition since joining the UR team, freshman Elizabeth Canfield placed third in the 1,000, and behind her was junior Erika Wasserstein in sixth. Canfield wasn’t done with her strong performance after just the 1,000 though, as she added a first place finish in the 1,500. Coach Hartwig said she is “confident Elizabeth will pick up indoor racing really quick.”

Junior Mary LeBrun followed up in sixth place in the 1,500. In the 3,000, freshman Jessica Van Binsbergen finished fourth, for four more points. Senior Lisa Johns added a third place finish in the 5,000. Brown added to her second place finish in the 55-meter dash with a first place finish in the 55- meter high hurdles. Just behind her was sophomore Anna Barbi in second, and junior Katrina Nowak was fifth.

The UR women joined the men in their dominance of the relays, finishing first in the 200-meter relay and 400-meter relay. Only a second place finish in the 800-meter relay kept the UR from sweeping both the men’s and women’s relay races. Barbi added to her second place finish in the high hurdles with a victory in the high jump. Senior Brie Stanley was fourth overall in the high jump. Brown’s strong day continued when she placed second in the pole vault. Gabriele, Nowak and Barbi were first, third and fourth respectively in the long jump, contributing 20 more points.

Sophomore Grace Kraay was second in the shot put competition, setting a new school record with a mark of 11.92 meters. “I think she’s gonna break it again before all is said and done,” Coach Hartwig said of Grace’s record. Also scoring for the UR team in the shot put were freshman Cynthia Gurecki, Boland and junior Laura Steiner.

The women also performed well in the weight throw, with Steiner placing third, sophomore Lauren Farberman placing fourth and sophomore Anne Baker placing fifth. Coach Hartwig praised her throwing squad. “They are way ahead of where they were last year. I’m very excited for them. The increased number of people has made it more competitive for them.”

Despite the strong performance, Coach Hartwig said she still sees “places where we need improvement.”

There is little time to relax, as the team travels to St. Lawrence this weekend where they will compete in what Coach Hartwig called “the next big test.” She added that “the level of competition for the second meet will be really high,” but that the team is “looking forward to it.”

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