The men’s indoor track and field team commenced the spring semester with a very strong home meet against local competition that included Alfred State College, Nazareth College, Roberts Wesleyan College, Mansfield University and Rochester Institute of Technology.

Although there was no team scoring in the meet, there were a number of excellent individual performances. “It’s apparent that people worked over break. We’re very excited,” Head Coach John Izzo said.

Graduate student Andrew Wunder set the tone right from the start, when he provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championship weight throw event with a mark of 16.34 meters.

Wunder also had a very solid shot put performance, as he marked 14.15 meters to finish in second place.

“It’s excellent to have his talent back this season. Not only that, but he’s a great team leader,” Izzo said.

Finishing back-to-back in third and fourth places were freshman Eric Scheele and senior Zach Opsitnick. They marked 13.37 meters and 12.68 meters, respectively.

Freshman Craig Brown placed second in the triple jump with a distance of 12.40 meters. Freshman Tyler Stapleton marked 1.70 meters in the high jump to finish second. He also placed fourth in the finals of the 55-meter high hurdles with a time of 8.64 seconds. In the 55-meter dash, freshman Max Ehrmann ran 6.67 seconds to finish in second place.

The team had three of the top six finishers in the 200-meter dash. Placing fourth with a time of 25.14 was sophomore Jason Myszka. Following closely behind him were sophomore Srinivas Boppana and freshman Brad Ochocki, who finished in fifth and sixth places.

The 400-meter dash had an even better outcome, as four UR runners placed in the top six. Junior Kirk Bristol won with a time of 54.31 seconds. Placing third in 55.85 seconds was sophomore Jacob Pylman. Ochocki was fifth with a time of 56.76 seconds, and freshman Simon Stampe was sixth, finishing in 57.28 seconds.

The best event of the day was the 500-meter run. Junior Matt Tierney ran an outstanding time of 1:06.39 to easily finish first and nearly break the school record. Junior Chris Clark was second with a time of 1:10.21, and freshman Jon DeRight was fifth with a time of 1:11.79.

In the 800-meter run, freshman Luke Oleksa ran 2:07.64 to finish in second place. Sophomore Rob Fitzgerald was fourth with a time of 2:16.04. Junior Chris Nolan and sophomore Brian MacIlvain finished in second and third places in the 1,000-meter run with respective times of 2:39.32 and 2:39.81.

One of the best overall events of the day for the men was the 3,000-meter run. Finishing first with a time of 8:53.86 was freshman Mark Stevens. Sophomore Joe Lust placed third, completing the race in 9:22.14. He was followed by freshman Dan Mueller, who ran 9:24.99.

Even without some of the team’s top runners competing, the relay teams produced very solid results. The distance medley team ran 10:30.75 to finish first. The 800-meter relay team finished third with a time of 1:40.20. With a time of 3:49.79, the 1600-meter relay team placed second. In the 3,200-meter relay, the A-team ran 8:43.69 to finish second, and the B-team ran 8:50.02 to finish third.

Based on the early season results, this team appears to have unlimited potential.

“We have excellent freshmen and the overall talent level of the team is up from last year. We still have a few holes that we’re trying to fill. If we can stay healthy, this could be a very good squad,” Izzo said.

Swidler can be reached at

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