The women’s track and field team, entering into the competition with a great head start, continued its reign of excellence at the New York State Collegiate Track Conference Championships over the weekend when it took the championship for only the second time in school history. Though the only top-place finish came from junior Jamie Landry in the pentathlon last weekend, the consistent second-, third- and fourth-place finishes throughout the weekend brought the team far ahead of its competitors. Scoring 107 points, compared to runner-up St. Lawrence University’s 90, the ‘Jackets placed first in the meet for the first time since 1986.

Landry and sophomore Kyra Pinsky earned the Yellowjackets 13 points in the pentathlon, and on Friday UR picked up right where it left off. Landry played off of her success from the previous week when she placed fifth in the high jump, clearing the bar set at 1.58 meters. Junior Jonelle Redhead threw the weight 15.06 meters for third place and a provisional qualification for the NCAA championships for the event.

The final field scorer for the day was sophomore Melissa Skevington, who was only seeded 13th going into the meet. She took her opponents by surprise, finishing third in the long jump by making a mark at 5.07 meters. Not only was this jump a personal best, but it also qualified her for the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships.

In Friday’s running events, the distance medley relay team, which consists of sophomores Suzanne Giunta, Heather Graham and Allie McComb and senior Stacie Woods, earned the Yellowjackets six points with yet another third-place finish with a time of 12:38.64, a seasonal best.

In other relay events, the 4×200 relay team of freshman Casey Green, Landry, Skevington and Woods had yet another season-best performance, qualifying for ECACs and placing seventh overall with a time of 1:49.18.

At the end of the night, the team was tied with St. Lawrence for first place with 39 points, well ahead of second-place SUNY Brockport.

On Saturday, the ‘Jackets kept up their outstanding performance and pulled away from St. Lawrence. Senior Kellie Hasselwander and sophomore Lisa Cole started off the day by adding eight points to the score, finishing third and seventh, respectively, in the 1-mile run. Hasselwander crossed the line in 5:12.56, and Cole finished in 5:21.25. Sophomore Prashanthi Chodagiri added points of her own with a fourth-place finish in the 400 by marking a time of 1:00.77. She was just .001 seconds away from a third-place finish, but she was unable to edge her opponent in the final kick. She, too, qualified for the ECAC meet. In the 500, Woods scored for the third time in the weekend when she placed second for her finish in 1:19.44.

Green scored for the second time of the weekend when she ran in the 55 finals. She placed third with a time of 7.38 seconds, just 0.01 behind the second-place finisher. McComb scored for her second time with a seventh-place finish in the 1,000 when she clocked in at 3:10.49. Green then came back to add points for the Yellowjackets for her third time. Her time of 26.20 seconds in the 200 not only placed her third in the event, but it also broke the school record she previously set.

The big event of the weekend was the 3,000, where UR went heads-up against St. Lawrence. The Saints had the top seed, and Hasselwander was seeded second. These two met their expectations, as Hasselwander took the No. 2 spot with a time of 10:40.23. What really helped the ‘Jackets out, however, was when junior Lauren Jewett pulled away at the end of the race to take seventh with a time of 11:09.27. Between Jewett and Hasselwander, the Yellowjackets scored 10 points, which cancelled out the 10 the Saints earned with the first-place spot.

This brought up yet another relay team. Cole, Graham, McComb and Hasselwander took a second-place finish in the 4×800 relay with a time of 9:52.92, which put UR ahead of St. Lawrence by just five points. However, the 4×400 team proved to be up to the challenge and pulled away with a finish at the No. 3 spot. The group of Green, Chodagiri, Woods and freshman Jackie Cinella checked in at 4:05.11 for yet another ECAC qualification. The win was solidified when senior Anjuli Cherukuri placed second in the pole vault, clearing 3.35 meters to break her own school record.

The championship was quite an improvement over last year’s placement, when the Yellowjackets finished eighth out of 16 teams.

The men’s team was unable to match the women’s accomplishment; however, its showing was anything but an embarrassment. Not only did the team match its placement of last year, coming in seventh of 15 teams for the second year in a row, but it also scored the exact same number of points with 54. This year, though, the ‘Jackets were much closer to a sixth-place finish, as Brockport surpassed them by just one point.

In the first day of competition, it was the fielders who scored major points for the Yellowjackets. Senior powerhouse thrower Mike Burgstrom started the day off by gaining 10 points in the weight throw. He took first in the event with a throw of 18.47 meters.

Junior Travis Buttaccio added eight more points for the team in the long jump when his last jump of the set brought him to second. Just before his last jump, Buttaccio was in fourth place, but his final jump of 6.60 meters put him ahead. Going into the meet, he was seeded seventh, making his No. 2 finish all the more impressive.

Another second-place finish came from senior Dan Mueller, who finished the 5,000 in 15:05.57. At the end of the day, the Yellowjackets had tallied up 28 points to put them in fifth place. Unfortunately, they were unable to hold onto their spot, and the team dropped two places throughout the day on Saturday.

Senior Mark Stevens started the day with a fourth-place finish in the 1-mile. Coming in at 4:18.57, Stevens squeaked past the fifth-place finisher, who was just .1 seconds behind. Lee ran a personal best in the 500, adding five more points for UR when he, too, placed fourth with a time of 1:07.66 in the event.

While none of the runners finished highly in the 3,000, the ‘Jackets gained strength in numbers, as three men placed in the top eight. Senior Pat Hughes, Mueller and sophomore Tyle Stelzig took fifth, sixth and eighth, respectively, with times of 8:46.79, 8:47.56 and 8:49.74. Stelzig’s time qualified him for ECACs to join Hughes, Mueller and Chebot in the event this weekend.

Burgstrom came back on the second day picking up just where he left off. Though he came into the shot put unseeded, his throw of 14.22 meters brought him to fourth place in the event, contributing another valuable five points, meaning that, of the team’s 54 points, Burgstrom brought in 15 – more than 25 percent of the score.

Burgstrom was the last participant who made the scoring mark Saturday, leaving the ‘Jackets one point short of a sixth-place finish. However, a great deal of the team will get to come back this weekend to participate in ECACs, held at Harvard University this year.

Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.

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