After traveling to the New York State Collegiate Track Conference championships at St. Lawrence University on Saturday, the men’s indoor track and field team came home with two individual state champions.

Junior powerhouse Mike Burgstrom came out on top in the weight throw; his throw of 18.43 meters earned him a school record in the event.

This throw missed a NCAA automatic qualifying bid by just one centimeter, but he is currently ranked fourth in Division III and has a provisional qualification for the championship meet.

“It felt great to break the school record and win the conference championship at the same time,” Burgstrom said. “They were two of my main goals at the beginning of the school year.”

The other championship came from a fantastic long jump by sophomore Travis Buttaccio, who jumped 6.46 meters in his final attempt. Buttaccio went from eighth place to first in this last jump.

“His performance was probably the biggest upset of the meet,” head coach John Izzo said.

These two first place finishes brought in 20 points for the Yellowjackets, significantly contributing to the 56 total points that the team earned, which placed them fifth of 15 teams.

“I’m very happy with our performance,” Izzo said. “We’ve had a lot of sickness and injuries during the season. My goal was for us to finish in the top half, so to finish in the top third was great. I’m really proud.”

As has been the case all season, UR earned a critical number of its points from the field events. Junior Eric Scheele added to Burgstrom’s 10 with a seventh place finish in the weight throw, throwing a distance of 14.66. His throw of 14.01 put him in eighth for the shot put and added another point to the team’s total. In other field events, sophomore Kevin Easton scored in the high jump, placing seventh by clearing the bar set at 1.87 meters.

The relay team added 14 more points to the Yellowjackets’ total. The 4×200 team, comprised of Buttaccio, junior Max Ehrmann, sophomore Marquis Turner and freshman Sean Adams, placed third with a time of 1:33.29, bringing in six points and qualifying for the Eastern College Athletic Conference championships. The 4×400 team of Turner, Adams and seniors Jake Pylman and Brian MacIlvain brought in eight points by placing second in their event, finishing in 3:26.71 and qualifying for ECACs.

“I felt bad for the 4×400 team,” Izzo said. “They lost by just a whisker.”

Turner was not only a member of the two successful relay teams, but he also placed in two other events. He finished sixth in both the 55-meter dash and the 200 with times of 6.74 and 23.52 seconds, respectively. This was a significant accomplishment considering he did not run in most of the meets of the season.

“He was training earlier in the season, and we were waiting for him to be ready to run,” Izzo said.

Another vital member of the team who has been missing throughout the season was unable to contribute on Saturday. Junior Mark Stevens started the one-mile run, but he was unable to finish.

“He has a foot injury that we’ve been trying to take care of,” Izzo said. “It was smart of him to drop out of the race.”

Other relay members also contributed points for the ‘Jackets. MacIlvain came in second in the 800 with an ECAC qualifying time of 1:56.13, and Adams finished sixth in the 55-meter hurdles by crossing the line at 8.14 and qualifying for ECACs.

The next step for the Yellowjackets is a trip to Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. this weekend, where all the team’s qualifiers will compete at the ECAC championships to make one final attempt at qualifying for the NCCAAs.

“I believe I am right where I need to be heading in to ECACs this week and nationals the week after,” Burgstrom said.

“We’re there to qualify for nationals. That’s why we’re going,” Izzo said.

Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.

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