Successes in the distance and field events propelled the women’s indoor track and field team to a second place finish in their first scoring meet of the year. With three more Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships qualifications, the Yellowjackets scored 120 points at the St. Lawrence University Invitational on Saturday, which put them behind winners SUNY Brockport with 145 and ahead of third place finishers Rochester Institute of Technology. Eight teams competed in the meet.

“Our depth really showed on Saturday. We placed in almost all the events we entered and had multiple placers in many events,” head coach Barbara Hartwig said. “The rookies are really competing very well – they have made an immediate impact upon our program.”

The 800-meter run saw two scorers from UR. Finishing second was senior Whitney Silkworth with a time of 2:28.55, and not far behind her was freshman Suzanne Giunta, who placed fourth with a time of 2:31.64. Freshman Hilary Haefner also saw success, as she placed third in the 1-mile run with a time of 5:39.38.

The ‘Jackets’ best distance performances were in the 5000-meter run, where junior Kellie Hasselwander placed first with a time of 18:56.5, and fellow junior Laura Richenderfer was the next to finish, placing second with a time of 19:31.33.

The distance medley relay team also provided the team with some points, placing fourth with a time of 13:36.80. The team was comprised of freshmen Allison McComb and Rachel Given and sophomores Katie Medford and Chelsea McGuire.

Two other relay teams placed second for the Yellowjackets. The 4×200-meter relay team, consisting of junior Michelle Andrews, freshmen Kyra Pinsky and Melissa Skevington and sophomore Jamie Landry, crossed the line in 1:52.45, which was good enough for an ECAC qualification.

Silkworth, sophomore Alexis Kirk and freshmen Prashanthi Chodagiri and Heather Graham worked together to earn a second place finish in the 4×400-meter relay, achieved with a time of 4:21.63.

The weight throw brought forth a lot of points for UR, as the ‘Jackets occupied the first, second and third positions in the event, which contributed 24 points to the team. Sophomore Jonelle Redhead placed first with a 14.50-meter throw, missing NCAA provisional qualifications by only 0.2 meters. In second was senior Kate Odian, who threw the weight 13.44 m. Sophomore Jessica Shepherd took third with a throw of 13.14 m. Odian and Shepherd both qualified for ECACs. Redhead had already done so last week at the RIT invitational.

In other throwing events, sophomore Bridget Mayne placed third in the shot put with a distance of 10.63 m. Redhead came in fifth with a put of 10.50 m.

The jumpers also did their part in contributing to the points, scoring in three different events. Junior Anjuli Cherukuri placed first in the pole vault, launching herself over the bar at 3.10 m. Skevington placed in two events, coming in third in the triple jump with a distance of 10.18 and fourth in the long jump with a distance of 4.87.

According to Redhead, team bonding has been a major contributor to their strength in competition.

“We are starting to solidify as a team – you can tell when people start cheering each other on by name during their events,” she said. “It’s such a great feeling – lots of new, positive energy on the team.”

The men did not do as well as a team, totaling only 48 points and finishing fifth out of eight teams, but junior Mike Burgstrom made up for it with a provisional NCAA qualification in the weight throw. His 16.59-meter throw placed him third in the event.

“For me personally it feels great to qualify for nationals…this early in the season, but I know I need to keep working hard if Im going to reach my goal of becoming an All-American this season,” Burgstrom said.

The field events racked in the majority of the team’s points, as junior Eric Scheele placed second in the shot put with a distance of 14.08, and he also placed sixth in the weight with a throw of 13.94.

On the jumping side of the field, two sophomores brought in the points for the team. Travis Buttaccio came in third in the long jump with a jump of 6.09. Kevin Easton placed fourth in the high jump, clearing 1.82.

In the sprints, junior Max Ehrmann earned eight points for the Yellowjackets, placing second in the 55-meter dash and crossing the finish line in 6.79 seconds. Freshman Sean Adams also scored. He placed sixth in the 55 hurdles with a time of 8.69. Sophomore Tyler Kieft scored in the 3000, placing sixth with a time of 9:37.85.

The final points came from the 4×400 relay team, which consisted of seniors Jake Pylman and Brian MacIlvain, sophomore Brian Willsey and Adams, placed first with a time of 3:31.80.

First in the meet was St. Lawrence University, who scored 155 points.

UR managed to edge out Alfred University, Nazareth College and SUNY Oswego.

“All in all, it was a more successful meet than the score showed,” Burgstrom said. “Our team is still fighting a lot of sickness and injury, so those who were healthy and able to compete represented our team very well.”

The teams will compete at Rochester Institute of Technology on Friday.

“This week we compete on Friday – so it’s a short turn around,” Hartwig said. “It’s a non-scoring meet, so we will probably pick and choose our events carefully, so that we can concentrate on our strengths.

On the men’s side of things, Burgstrom is optimistic for future meets.

“Our team has a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we have the talent to accomplish great things this year,” he said.

Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.

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