Seemingly unaffected by their inability to practice and compete regularly because of the weather, the men’s track and field team dazzled the home crowd with an excellent performance, finishing second out of 17 teams that competed on Saturday in the UR Alumni Invitational. Coach John Izzo was hesitant to get overexcited, however, saying “In general, we performed pretty admirably.”
The day started out strong, as UR scored in each of the sprint and middle-distance events. In the 100-meter dash, freshman Matt Tierney placed third overall with a time of 11.09 seconds. He followed that up with another strong run in the 200, which he finished in 22.41 seconds to finish fifth. Freshman Tommy Hainsworth also got on the board for the men in the 200, finishing seventh with a time of 22.60. In the 400, juniors Greg Dusek and Mike Hakiel and senior Brian Strandberg finished fourth, fifth and sixth with times of 51.29, 51.31 and 51.76 respectively.
Sophomore Matt Rodems kept the scoring streak alive with an eighth place finish in the 800-meter run, crossing the finish line in 2:00.36. Freshman Chris Nolan added a sixth place finish in the 1,500, finishing in 4:10.92. The men also performed well in the hurdles, as Hakiel and junior Jacob Budny finished back-to-back in sixth and seventh places with times of 59.15 and 59.29 seconds in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles. Senior Justin Panarese was fifth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:19.96.
The men’s relay teams were simply dominant, racking up two first places and a second place finish. The 400-meter relay team was first overall, finishing in 43.19 seconds. Also finishing first was the 1,600, which crossed the line in 3:23.82. 1,600 “B” relay team also got in on the scoring, finishing fourth with a time of 3:33.86. Finishing in second place was the 3,200 team, which ran a time of 8:31.17.
Senior Jon Kaiser’s mark of 1.78 meters earned him a seventh place finish in the high jump. Placing second in the pole vault was senior Giancarlo Rondash, who marked 4.26 meters. Izzo said that Rondash had “a great day on Saturday in what was really his first day outdoors.” In the shot put, junior Andy Wunder marked 13.46 meters to finish second overall. Also scoring for the men in that event was junior Zach Opsitnick, who was sixth with a mark of 12.41 meters. Wunder followed up his shot put performance with a fourth place mark of 44.19 meters in the hammer throw, finishing just ahead of his teammate, senior Dan Quinn, who marked 44.16 meters. Freshman Andy Lange placed sixth in the javelin throw as he marked 41.12 meters, finishing just in front of sohomore Jeremy Stern, who marked 40.94 meters to finish seventh. The best event of the day came in the discus throw. In that event, Lange, Wunder and Budny finished first, second, and third with marks of 39.31 meters, 38.77 meters and 38.52 meters respectively.
“Overall, it was a very good meet,” Izzo said. “I am pleased that the team performed pretty well, and everybody was happy to get outside and have pretty decent weather for the meet.”
This week the team has been able to practice regularly outdoors so far for basically the first time all season, which should make a major difference. Izzo hopes the effects of outdoor practices will show up immediately, as the team travels to Hamilton College this weekend to compete in a non-scoring meet. Against Hamilton, the team is going after qualifying marks and there should be some quality competition for the Yellowjackets.
After already having their two previous home meets cancelled so far this season, the women’s track and field team was determined to finally compete without having to go all the way to Virginia. The weather was not a factor this time, as they were able to host the UR Alumni Invitational. Coach Barbara Hartwig said that it was “nice to finally have a meet again.” She added, “I’m thankful the weather cooperated.”
Although they have only competed in one meet in the outdoor season thus far, the women had a very strong meet, finishing fourth out of the eighteen competing teams, earning 95 points, 36 behind first place SUNY Geneseo. Hartwig said regarding their opponents, “the competition was very intense. It was very competitive throughout the whole meet, but I thought we did a very good job.”
One athlete who had a strong day for the UR women was senior Angela Burgess. In the 200-meter dash, she finished in third place with a time of 26.32 seconds, and topped that with a second place finish in the 400, which she ran in 1:00.27. Sophomore Katie O’Brien continued to dominate the 800-meter run the way she did during the indoor season, running 2:16.19 to finish first. The distance runners also had a solid meet, led by junior Mary LeBrun and senior Lisa Johns, who finished third and fourth in the 5,000 with times of 19:10.57 and 19:20.63 respectively. Senior Elizabeth Conway, consistently one of the team’s top sprinters, showed her versatility when she scored in both the 100 and 400 meter hurdle events. In the 100 meter high hurdles, she finished sixth overall with a time of 16.61, which she bettered by finishing second with a time of 1:07.49 in the 400 meter intermediate hurdles.
The team’s depth was showcased when they placed in the top four in all three relays. The 400-meter team of Burgess, Conway, O’Brien and senior Deandra Isoh crossed the line in 51.32 seconds to finish fourth. Both the 1,600 team of Conway, sophomore Anna Barbi, Burgess, and O’Brien and 3,200 team of junior Elizabeth Canfield, sophomore Elizabeth Boerman, Johns and LeBrun finished second in their races, finishing in 4:05.54 and 10:53.14 respectively.
The field events also produced a number of excellent showings, with UR athletes scoring in two of the four jump events as well as all four throwing competitions. In the high jump, Barbi marked 1.57 meters to finish seventh overall. Senior Erin Bank’s 3.20 mark in the pole vault earned her a first place score andtied the school record. After setting a school record at the Battlefield Relays two weeks earlier, sophomore Grace Kraay marked 11.36 in the shot put to finish fifth this time around and break her own record once again. She didn’t stop there, however, as she also scored in both the discus and the javelin throws. Her discus mark of 31.59 meters put her in sixth place, and her javelin mark of 26.55 was good enough for fourth. Hartwig said that she “recently picked up the javelin and has really started to take off in that as well.” Competing alongside Kraay in the discus throw was junior Laura Steiner, who marked 27.82 meters to finish eighth. She contributed another point to the team’s total in the hammer throw, in which she also finished eighth, marking 34.07 meters. Barbi followed up her seventh place finish in the high jump with seventh place in the javelin throw as well, marking 24.47 meters. Regarding the throwing squad, Hartwig said “they did a nice job. They had their backs against the wall with the wet, sloppy conditions. I’m very pleased with their performances.”
“Overall, it was a pretty outstanding day,” Hartwig said. She noted that the team is “still not at 100 percent yet. We’re still a bit rusty in places we haven’t competed.” With that being said, she was pleased that the team “did quite well considering all the adversity the last two weeks.”
This weekend the women look to follow up their strong performance when they head to Hamilton College to compete Saturday. There, Hartwig said “we are hoping to pick up where we left off last weekend.” With two meets already under their belts and another two cancelled, she said “time is running short, it has not been a very helpful spring as far as weather’s concerned, but we can’t wait for the opportunity, we have to make something happen ourselves.”
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