The men’s track and field team split up, with part of the team traveling to Hamilton College for the Hamilton Invitational and the remaining members staying closer to home at Roberts Wesleyan College last Saturday. For the second week in a row, the team competed in non-scoring meets. And once again it was a very successful weekend. “I was very pleased with the performance of the team in general in both meets,” Head Coach John Izzo said. “A large majority of our athletes in both places had their best performances of the season.” Many of the track athletes competed at the Hamilton Invitational and made their presence known right from the start. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, freshman Andrew Whitbeck ran 9:40.81, coming in first by nearly three seconds. Freshman Ben Snyder and sophomore Chris Nolan finished seventh and eighth in the 1,500-meter run, completing the event in 4:11.87 and 4:12.40 respectively. Nolan would follow up his eighth-place finish in the 1,500-meter run with another eighth-place finish later in the day, this time in the 800-meter run, which he completed in 1:59.83. In the 400-meter hurdles, freshman Brian MacIlvain ran 59.47 seconds, finishing fifth.As has been the case in recent weeks, the 400-meter dash was the dominant event of the day for the men. Sophomore Matt Tierney ran 48.71 seconds in the 400, breaking both the meet record and his own UR record. Also breaking the 50-second mark was graduate student Brian Strandberg, who ran 49.83 seconds to finish in second place. Senior Greg Dusek ran 50 seconds flat to give the men the trifecta in the 400. And with a time of 51.04 seconds, freshman Jacob Pylman finished sixth in the event. Tierney and Strandberg accomplished the same feat in the 200-meter dash. Although Tierney didn’t match last year’s time of 22.14 seconds, which remains the meet record, his time of 22.22 seconds once again earned him first place. Strandberg ran 22.33 seconds to finish second. Dusek and sophomore Kirk Bristol also finished back-to-back in the 200, placing seventh and eighth respectively. “Our entire sprint core had a fabulous day,” Izzo said. The attendees of the Roberts Wesleyan meet had a strong showing as well. Junior Matt Rodems ran 1:58.65 in the 800-meter run to finish in third place, a trend that would continue for the men throughout the day. Junior Ian Slattery finished third in the 5,000-meter run, posting a time of 16:14.49. In the 110-meter high hurdles, senior Jacob Budny ran 16.67 seconds to finish in third place. Budny followed up with a third-place finish in the pole vault, as he marked 14 feet. He edged teammate senior Adam Smith, who tied for fourth with a mark of 13:6.25 to qualify for the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament.Then in the shot put, Budny broke the streak of third-place finishes, as he placed second with a mark of 13.02 meters. He was topped only by teammate senior Zach Opsitnick, whose mark of 13.17 meters earned him the victory. In the hammer throw, sophomore Chris Skeehan added to the collection of third-place finishes with a mark for 33.06 meters. In that event, senior Andrew Wunder placed second with a mark of 48.18 meters.Wunder then topped his own performance with a first-place finish in the discus throw. His mark of 44.94 meters qualified him for ECAC Championships, as well as placing him second in the New York State rankings in the event.This Saturday the men will host a small meet that includes several other local teams as they make final preparations for New York State Championships, which are now just over a week away. “We’ve had home meets on D-Day before,” Izzo said. “It always makes for an interesting crowd. We’ve had a number of really good practices this week – we’re excited for the meet.” Swidler can be reached at

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