Despite lacking key members of their team due to injuries, study abroad and internships, the men’s outdoor track and field team started their outdoor season strong on Saturday at the Widener University Invitational. They came away from the meet with 10 top-eight finishes.

“I’m very pleased with the team,” head coach John Izzo said. “We didn’t ease up and trained through – they were great.”

The best performances of the day came from freshman Sean Adams. He took first of 21 in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles with a time of 55.50 seconds. In the 100-meter high hurdles, he finished second in a pool of 20 when he crossed the line at 15.49. Adams qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships in both their events.

“For Sean Adams to go to the meet as a freshman and win, that’s pretty special,” Izzo said.

In other running events, sophomore Marquis Turner placed third of 39 in the 100. He finished in 11.17.

Senior Brian MacIlvain finished eighth in the 800, coming in at 1:59.85, and senior Nick Roosa came in eighth in the 5,000 with a time of 15:39.26.

The two relay teams both placed fifth and qualified for ECACs. The 4×100 team consisting of juniors Max Ehrmann and Justin Papariella, sophomore Travis Buttaccio and Turner finished in 44.05. Turner, MacIlvain and sophomores Brian Kraftschik and Jon Antista made up the 4×400 team, which crossed the line in 3:26.32.

In the field events, junior Dan Gloeckler placed fourth in the pole vault, clearing 3.95 meters. Sophomore Kevin Easton finished fifth in the high jump. He was able to jump over the bar set at 1.87.

The throwers made their mark in the hammer throw, as juniors Mike Burgstrom and Eric Scheele took fourth and seventh, respectively. Burgstrom threw 45.71 meters while Scheele threw 43.91.

Many vital spots were open at the invitational, leaving gaps that will have to be compensated for when entering championship meets later on in the season. Distance star junior Mark Stevens is still unable to run due to injury, along with others, and many more are away for the semester, studying abroad and interning.

“We’re a little undermanned, but I’m confident in the rest of the team to pick up slack,” Izzo said.

However, with the many members of the team missing for the season, Izzo is being slightly optimistic, yet realistic, when projecting his predictions for the races to come.

“We can contend to be in the top 10 of the ECAC and the top third of the state conference, but with so many injured and away, it would be a real stretch to expect to win the conference,” he said.

The Yellowjackets are scheduled to run on Saturday at home at the UR Alumni Invitational, starting at 10 a.m.

However, if the temperature is below 40 degrees, they will not have the meet, as it is too dangerous to compete if the temperatures are close to freezing, especially for the throwers.

“[The first meet] was a good kickoff to the season,” Izzo said. “I feel badly that [the team] probably won’t be able to compete this weekend.”

Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.

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