The men’s track and field team continued to do well early in the season.Last Saturady, they attened the Saints Indoor Classic hosted by St. Lawrence University. Although there were a number of important members of the team who did not compete, the team still did well. They finished third out of seven teams. “We performed very well [even though] we left a number of people home. We didn’t set up to score the maximum amount of points. [Instead] we were trying to qualify people for ECAC’s, and we did that. We were pretty happy,” Head Coach John Izzo said.The men started off their day strong. Sophomore Matt Tierney ran 22.82 seconds in the 200-meter dash to finish first overall, which qualified him for ECAC’s. Also scoring in the 200 was sophomore Kirk Bristol, who crossed the line in 23.81 seconds, finishing fifth. Tierney followed up his victory in the 200 with another win in the 400-meter dash.His time of 50.20 seconds broke the school record held since the 1980’s, in addition to qualifying him for ECAC’s in another event. “We knew he was gonna run fast, I think he’s gonna run even faster,” Izzo said.The string of victories continued in the 500-meter dash, as sophomore Chris Clark and senior Greg Dusek finished first and second, qualifying both for ECAC’s. Junior Matt Rodems ran 2:36.15 in the 1,000-meter run, finishing in third place. In the 3,000-meter run, freshman Andrew Whitbeck placed fifth, completing the event in 9:15.52. The 4 x 200-meter relay team of Tierney, Dusek, Bristol and senior Adam Smith continued its success with a second place finishing time of 1:33.01. Freshmen Nick Tolli, Pete Vern, Bryan Huntly and junior Graham Pierce teamed up for the 4 x 400-meter relay to finish in ninth place, adding two points to the UR men’s total. In the 4 x 800-meter relay, Clark, Matt Rodems, freshmen Jacob Pylman and Mlen-Too Wesley combined for a fourth place finish and four more points.Probably the strongest event of the day came in the shot put. Seniors Andrew Wunder, Jacob Budny, Zach Opsitnick and Josh Hill finished third, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively, taking four of the six available scoring positions. Wunder equaled his third place finish in the shot put with another third place finish in the weight throw. His mark of 15.80 meters was strong enough to qualify him for ECAC’s in the event. Budny and Smith added to their other marks with third and fourth place finishes in the pole vault. In sum, the men scored 93 points, placing them behind only St. Lawrence – 49 points – and SUNY Cortland – 127.50 points – despite missing some key members of the team. “We would have liked to have had our athletes who were not healthy for the meet, that was the only disappointment,” Izzo said.The team has continued to stress the importance of the postseason meets, including ECAC’s, State Championships and Regionals. “We need to get people qualified for ECAC’s – the sooner we do that, the sooner we can start game planning for the state meet. I’ve been extremely pleased with how the team’s been working. This may be the hardest working and most focused team I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Izzo said. He continued, “We have four or five people and a relay that all have a shot to qualify for nationals. And I’ll be really disappointed if we don’t have at least 15 guys qualified for ECAC’s,” Izzo said.With another meet at St. Lawrence this weekend, the early season excitement is expected to continue as the team prepares for the challenges that await later in the year. Swidler can be reached at dswidler@campustimes. org.



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