The Rider/Lafayette Winter Games in Manhattan this past weekend brought home 14 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference qualifying performances for the UR men’s and women’s track and field teams. Taking place at the Armory, a nationally recognized and competitive arena for track athletes, eight women, four men and one relay team apiece earned an opportunity to compete in the postseason championship.

‘The meet this past weekend was an exciting one for our team to compete in,” sophomore Will McMunigal said. ‘The Armory is known as one of the fastest indoor tracks in the country, and our team definitely made the most of the opportunity to run there.”

The ‘Jackets were up against tough competition as well Division I, II and III schools competed in the Games.

McMunigal placed fifth in the long jump with a distance of 6.77 meters. This performance strengthened his previous ECAC qualifying distance. Joining him were three other teammates and one relay team that also reached ECAC qualifying standards at last weekend’s Winter Games.

Junior A.J. Lee improved his previous ECAC qualifying time, taking third in the 500-meter dash with a time of 1:05.88. Junior Francisco Ramirez, finishing in sixth place behind Lee, earned his first ECAC qualification with a time of 1:08.19.

Senior Tyler Stelzig, who placed third in the 5000-meter run, finishing the race in 15:23.33, also earned a spot at ECACs.

UR’s 4×400 relay team, consisting of sophomore Nick Chisholm, sophomore Gregory Hartnett, Ramirez and Lee finished the 1600-meter race in a time of 3:26.04 good enough to qualify for the postseason tournament.

‘While we are expecting to score points in the field events and sprints, the majority of our team is built up of middle and long distance runners,” Hartnett said.’This meansin order to do well in the team scoring at States, we are going to have to have multiple scorers in each event, 500-meter and up. It’s going to be a challenging and competitive championship season, but we have the athletes that can get the job done.”

For the women, three sprinters met qualifying standards for ECACs, hosted by Smith College next month, with two athletes in the 200-meter and one each in the 400- and 500-meter races reaching the required qualifying times.

Sophomore Kenisha Smith took sixth place in the 200, and junior Jacqueline Cinella took ninth in the 400-meter.

In the 500-meter, UR had two strong finishes, with sophomore Nikita Bourque taking third place and freshman Claire Crowther taking fifth place.

Off the track, freshman Carina Luck took sixth place in the triple jump with a height of 10.87 meters, enough to qualify her for the ECACs as well.

In the distance races, UR saw three more athletes qualify. Freshman Zarah Quinn finished fourth in the 1000-meter with a time of 3:05.55. Close behind was senior Lisa Cole with a time of 3:07.51, securing her first qualifying time this season. In the 3000-meter, senior Suzanne Giunta placed sixth overall with a time of 10:41.01.

Bourque, Cinella, Smith and junior Casey Green, making up the 4×400 meter relay team, also qualified for the upcoming ECAC Championships.

Clark is a member of the class of 2012.

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