The women’s track team continued to impress this weekend when they hosted the University of Rochester Invitational, also attended by Alfred State, Alfred University, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Geneseo, Ithaca College men, SUNY Oswego, Roberts Wesleyan and Rochester Institute of Technology.
Even against what Coach Barbara Hartwig referred to as “real good competition,” the women used the home field to their advantage, placing first overall for the second consecutive weekend and third time in their past four meets, in an effort that Hartwig called “very scrappy.” She continued, “I am very pleased how everyone responded. They were very motivated and all competed very aggressively. It all came together for a nice victory for us.”
The team closest to the UR women’s 148 total points was Roberts Wesleyan, which had 131. Geneseo came in third place with 95 points, just four points ahead of Brockport’s 91. RIT earned a total of 50 points, Oswego had 38, and Alfred State and Alfred University rounded out the scoring with 17 and 5 points respectively.
Junior Denise Brown started out what would turn into a very strong day with a fourth place finish in the 55- meter dash. In the second event of the morning, senior Angela Burgess led the way with a first place finish in the 200, and freshman Lia Boland followed with a third place finish. Burgess was hardly done though, as she finished the 400 with another victory. Hartwig said of Angela’s performance, “she continued to dominate the 400. Whatever the level of competition she faces, she continues to rise to it. She always manages to make it look easy.” Angela wasn’t alone in the 400, however, as junior Shelly Gabriele crossed the line right behind her, earning a second place finish. The UR women also held first and second place in the 500. This time, it was sophomore Katie O’Brien and senior Elizabeth Conway who held the distinction. Hartwig called Katie’s run “very aggressive and mentally tough.” In the 3,000-meter run, junior Mary LeBrun finished second overall. Coach Hartwig said that “I think you’ll see her continue to drop time, she looked very strong.” Junior Kate McKenzie finished the distance races with a third place finish in the 5,000. Coach Hartwig said of her distance runners, “[they] are starting to round out into competitive form.”
After earning a fourth place finish in the 55-meter dash, Brown topped her earlier performance with a victory in the 55 meter high hurdles, setting a personal record in the process. Sophomore Anna Barbi and junior Katrina Nowak also competed in that event, earning fifth and sixth place finishes. They weren’t done, however, as they, along with Gabriele and Boland, helped the 200-meter relay team earn a first place finish. Not to be outdone, the 400 relay team of Conway, Gabriele, Barbi, and freshman Kate Pohlman was also victorious, defeating the second place RIT team by more than 13 seconds.
The distance medley team finished in second place, losing to Geneseo by just 13 hundredths of a second. Hartwig was quick to commend O’Brien on her 800-meter portion of the distance medley, saying “I think there’s more where that came from. That’s an event she will see again.”
Three UR women placed in the high jump, including Barbi’s first place mark to go along with her earlier contributions.
Hartwig called her high jump performance “very consistent.” Also placing in the high jump were senior Brie Stanley and Pohlman, who tied for fourth.
The possible highlight of the day came when senior Erin Bank tied the school record in the pole vault with a mark of 10 feet, earning second place. Hartwig responded by saying “I’m very happy for her. She’s been working on a new technique that took some adjustment but it’s starting to pay off. Look for some good things from her.” Nowak and Gabriele continued to perform well, earning fourth and sixth places in the long jump. Sophomore Grace Kraay also had a strong day, with a fourth place finish in the shot put and junior Laura Steiner finished up the day earning sixth in the weight throw.
Hartwig said of the team’s overall performance, “things are progressing very well.” She says the team “has the right mind set when we go in.” With what she called “a very solid effort against some very good teams,” Hartwig believes the team “has really set up well for some strong future meets.”
With 11 athletes already qualified for ECAC’s, Hartwig said she “expect[s] to have some people challenge for NCAA’s in the next three weeks.” She continued, “there are several events where I think we have a legitimate shot to meet some qualifying standards for NCAA’s.”
This weekend, the team will split up, as some of the sprinters and distance runners will head to Boston University, where they will compete against what Hartwig called “a fairly elite field on a very fast, brand new track.” The majority of the team will travel to Cornell University where they will look to continue to build on their strong performances over the past few weeks and continue preparations for the postseason meets. As Hartwig said, “if this has been any indication, things are going to get a lot better.”
Men’s ResultsThe men’s track team continued to dominate the competition last weekend at the UR Invitational, where they finished first overall against what Coach John Izzo called “very stiff competition.” He said of the results, “there were some excellent performances. A number of people really came on strong.”
With 162 points, the UR men easily defeated RIT, their closest competitors, with 132 points. Geneseo’s 108 points earned them a third place finish, Alfred State was fourth with 67 points, and Brockport came in fifth with 48. Sixth overall was Roberts Wesleyan, which had 37 points, ahead of Alfred with 17 points, Oswego with 7 and Ithaca with 6.
The men started off strong in the very first event, with three of the top six finishers in the 55-meter dash, as freshman Matt Tierney, junior Greg Dusek and senior Brian Strandberg came in second, fourth and sixth overall. Not yet through his freshman year, Matt Tierney is just three hundredths of a second off the school record in the 55. Things would only get better as the day progressed, as in the 200, Tierney and Dusek, along with freshman Tommy Hainsworth, would blow away the field finishing in first, second and third place.
Although only two of the 17 runners in the 200 represented the UR team, freshmen Scott Bambrick and Chris Clark didn’t let that hurt their performances, as they finished first and second overall. Displaying the depth that has been so important to the team’s success this year, three additional men scored points for the team, as junior Mike Hakiel finished first, freshman Tim Samuelson finished fourth and sophomore Andrew Lawler finished sixth in the 500.
Freshman Chris Nolan’s stellar rookie season continued, as he was victorious in the 800-meter run. The next event, the 1,000, had two more UR scorers, as senior Justin Panarese and sophomore Matt Rodems were third and sixth respectively. Sophomore Ian Slatteryand freshman Kevin McGettrick contributed in the 3,000 meter run with second and fifth place finishes, and sophomore Terrance Cordner added a second place finish in the 5,000 run to conclude a very successful set of distance runs. Izzo said “the sprinters and middle-distance runners did a great job.” The 200-meter relay team of senior Chris Smith, sophomore Andrew Lawler, junior Kyle Lackner and Samuelson were third overall. Greg Dusek, Chris Clark, Scott Bambrick and Brian Strandberg all followed up their strong performances in earlier events, combining for a first place finish in the 400-meter relay. The distance medley team also consisted of winners of three earlier races and a third place finisher, as Chris Nolan, Matt Tierney, Mike Hakiel and Justin Panarese combined forces for a second place finish.
Sophomore Liam Rafferty and senior Jon Kaiser were fourth and fifth in the high jump. Mike Hakiel’s strong day continued as well, when he came in fifth in the triple jump. Junior
Andrew Wunder and freshman Andrew Lange were fourth and fifth in the shot put. Wunder’s day wasn’t finished, however, as he would follow up his fourth place shot put mark with a second place finish in the weight throw, losing only to his teammate, senior Dan Quinn. In the process, he qualified for ECAC Championships, just as Quinn had the previous week.
As with the women, the men’s team will send part of the team to the Boston University St. Valentine Invitational and the remainder of the team will go to Cornell University to participate in the first of two consecutive meets there.
Regarding the race at BU, Coach Izzo said, “If the new track [team] is anywhere near as fast as the old track [team] was, we should see some qualifying times.” The Cornell meet appears promising as well, and although the competition will be extremely difficult, the men appear to be up to the challenge.
Based on their performances over the past several weeks, the men and women seem prepared to compete against anybody they face.
Swidler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.