After last weekend’s first place performance as the hosts of the UR Invitational, the women’s track team could have experienced a letdown when it traveled to the St. Lawrence Invitational to face tougher competition. Instead, they put together what Coach Barbara Hartwig called “one of the best early season meets we’ve had in years [in] a very intense meet for this time of the season.”

Coming in first in the women’s meet was St. Lawrence, who scored a total of 160 points in the 17 events. Behind them was Geneseo, with 155 points. UR’s 105.5 points was good enough for third place, ahead of Ottawa Lion TC, which had 67 points. Oswego was fifth with 52 points, and Oneonta State came in sixth with 41.5 points.

Starting the day off for the women were senior Angela Burgess and junior Denise Brown, who finished fifth and seventh respectively in the 55-meter dash. Sophomore Katherine O’Brien registered a third place finish in the 400. Completing the race just six hundredths of a second faster was Angela Burgess, who added a second place finish to her fifth place performance in the 55.

The women’s relay teams had another strong day, as the 200-meter relay finished second, just five hundredths of a second behind the winning St. Lawrence team, breaking a school record set last year.Shelly Gabriele added a third place finish in the long jump to her fifth place finish in the 400. The UR women also excelled in the shot put, as sophomore Grace Kraay and freshman Cynthia Gurecki were second and fourth respectively. Sophomore Anne Baker’s throw of 11.37 meters set a new school record.

With such strong performances across the board and a number of personal and even school records already broken thus far, she is “very excited that they will have to reset their goals. For some of them, ECAC and National qualifying is really in the picture now, which gives us a lot of confidence as a team.”

All in all, Coach Hartwig said of the meet “it’s amazing to me how much progress we’ve made in just one week.” She continued, “I can’t ask for anything more. I just hope we can keep the ball rolling.”

The team looks to continue to build momentum when it travels to Fredonia this weekend.

Men’s ResultsAny time a head coach, usually a team’s biggest critic, says “I honestly couldn’t have asked for any more than I got out of the team this weekend,” things must be going very well. This was the case with the men’s track team, which Coach John Izzo said put together “the most complete effort as a team since I’ve been here” at the St. Lawrence Invitational last weekend. He added, “everyone had a great weekend.”

The great weekend really started on Friday at Cornell, where seniors Jonathan Kaiser and Jacob Budny participated in a pentathlon meet. Both Kaiser and Budny performed well enough to qualify for the State Pentathlon Championships on Feb. 23, which will be hosted by UR.

In the St. Lawrence meet, the men finished second overall, behind only the hosts, a very strong St. Lawrence team which compiled 186.50 total points, compared to UR’s 122. Buffalo State was third with 84 points, and Geneseo was right behind with 82.

The men started out strong when freshman Matt Tierney finished the 55-meter dash in second place. He followed up with another second place finish, this time in the 20. Senior Brian Strandberg and freshman Tommy Hainsworth also ran well in the 200. Stranberg put together another solid race in the next event, the 400. His sixth place finish was sandwiched between a fifth place finish for junior Greg Dusek and freshman Scott Bambrick in a race that Coach Izzo said “almost all [of the ten UR participants] had personal records. The sprinting group is doing a great job.”

In the 800-meter run, freshman Christopher Clark finished fourth. Freshman Chris Nolan was second in the 1000. Freshman Kevin McGettrick, senior Justin Panarese, and sophomore Terrence Cordner all set personal bests in the 5000, adding to the many highlights of the day.

In fact, Coach Izzo said “McGettrick knocked almost a full minute off his best time, which was fantastic.” Regarding some strong performances that may not have shown up on the scoreboard, he added “the 5k field was superior, so even people who didn’t finish in the front of the pack had some great times.” He continued, “some very good recruits are beginning to assert themselves. The freshmen from cross country are no longer running like freshmen.” Regarding a pair of productive freshmen, Izzo said “Chris Nolan and Matt Tierney were awesome.”

The men’s relays have been outstanding in the past two weeks, as they were once again victorious in both the 4 x 200-meter relay and the 4 x 400-meter relay, and a quartet of sophomores added a third place finish in the distance medley. Coach Izzo said the relay team “did a great job, which is a reflection of our depth.”

“From top to bottom,” Izzo said of the meet, “every single grouping did a great job. It was a very complete effort.” Although the team has performed outstanding in the past couple weeks, Izzo said “We haven’t even begun to peak yet, and we still have some holes to fill,” a scary possibility for upcoming opponents.

One challenge for this young team with a lot of depth, is to peak at the end of the season. The men will continue to prepare for the final meets of the season this weekend at Fredonia, where Izzo will be “setting up the lineup to try to qualify people for ECAC’s and State Championships.”

Swidler can be reached at

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