Despite completing a sub-par performance at the New York State Championships, the men’s indoor track team still pulled off a respectable finish at the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships last Saturday, tying for 19th place out of 44 teams.
“It wasn’t the end of the season we had hoped for,” head coach John Izzo said. “We wanted to have some qualify for Nationals, but I pretty much knew when we saw the track that it wasn’t going to happen.”
Unfortunately for the Yellowjackets, the track at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania had some very tight turns that slowed the races. They accumulated team points in five events over the two day competition, finishing with a total of 14 points.
“My regret as a coach, [is that] had I known the track, I would have entered them in more individual events to score well, rather than focus on qualifying for Nationals,” Izzo said.
Plagued by some injuries and illnesses, UR had it rough from the start.
“Everyone has to deal with it – it was just our turn,” Izzo said.
On Friday, the state champion 4×200-meter relay team, consisting of seniors Matt Tierney and Kirk Bristol, freshman Marquis Turner and sophomore Justin Papariella, led the way, placing fourth and clocking in at 1:32.34 to earn five points.
Sophomore Eric Scheele finished eighth in the shot put with a throw of 14.08 meters and earned one point for the team.
The men left the meet on Friday in 16th place out of 25 teams.
When they returned on Saturday, the Yellowjackets accumulated points in three more events. The 4×400-meter relay team, consisting of Bristol, senior Jacob Pylman, sophomore Max Ehrmann and Tierney placed seventh overall, with a time of 3:25.26. The 4×800-meter relay team, consisting of freshman Brian Wilsey, junior Brian McIlvain, sophomore Luke Oleksa and senior Chris Nolan, also placed seventh, with a time of 8:10.33.
The final scorer for UR was sophomore Mike Burgstrom, who finished fifth overall in the weight throw with a distance of 15.97 meters.
At the end of the day, UR’s place standing went down, but there were many more scoring teams, and the Yellowjackets stayed strong through the end.
Izzo is now looking forward to the upcoming outdoor track season.
“We’re a very good team,” he said. “We’re hoping to be competing for the conference championships outdoors.”
Philbrick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.