This weekend at the UR Alumni Invitational, the men and women’s track and field teams dominated the competition and made the home crowd proud. The Yellowjackets cumulatively had 13 Easter College Athletic Conference-qualifying performances and 15 New York State Championship qualifying performances, as well as an astounding three Division III NCAA National Championship qualifying marks.
Senior Brian Lang set the pace for the day when he smashed his personal best, and the 29-year old school record, in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Lang’s time of 8:56.76 was a new UR best, ousting the previous record of 9:00.26 set by Eric Lutz in 1982.
The men’s team took first overall with 131 points, in no small part thanks to the 10,000-meter run. The top four men qualified for the ECAC Championships, as junior Jamie Vavra took first with a time of 31:34.34, followed shortly by senior Jon Pinto (31:41.49) in third and freshman Adam Pacheck (31:47.18) in fourth.
In the steeplechase, UR placed four men in the top eight. In addition to Lang, senior Dan Lane qualified for ECACs in 9:24.22. Junior Jason Zayac and sophomore Justin Roncaioli both qualified for the NYS Championships and placed sixth and eighth, respectively.
In the 1500-meters, junior Andrew Fleisher crossed the line in 4:00.12 for fourth place and was followed by freshman Yuji Wakimoto in eighth (4:02.04). Fleisher qualified for ECACs while Wakimoto booked a spot at the NYS Championships.
Junior Nick Chisholm was second in the 400-meter run with an ECAC-qualifying time of 49:95, while four men took care of the 800. Seniors Frank Ramirez and A.J. Lee took second and third, respectively, with times of 1:54.64 and 1:54.99 to qualify for ECACs, and juniors Greg Hartnett and James Meyers took fifth and seventh to throw in a couple NYS Championship performances.
On the women’s side, seniors Jackie Cinella and Yaneve Fonge continued their streak of amazing performances — both surpassed the NCAA championship provisional standard in their respective events. The women took first among 15 teams, besting St. Lawrence by 29 points with a score of 142.
Cinella took first place in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, with a time of 1:03.02. She was just over a second away from the automatic standard.
Fonge threw the hammer 52.47 meters, 0.13 meters away from the automatic standard. Later, she threw 11.89 meters in the shot put to place second and easily qualify for ECACs.
A trio of pole vaulters made the most of their time at home by qualifying for the NYS Championships. Junior Kaily Abbott (3.10 m), senior Kristin Fekete (2.95 m) and freshman Holly Weldon (2.80 m) placed third, fourth and seventh respectively to put up points for UR. Triple jumper Carina Luck kept the pace up with an ECAC-qualifying 11.03 m.
Sophomore Claire Crowther won the 400-meters with an ECAC-qualifying 59.87 seconds, and classmate Zarah Quinn posted a NYS Championship-qualifying 4:52.96 to place second.
Senior Val Atwood had an incredibly busy day, taking third in the steeplechase (in an ECAC-qualifying 11:51.09) and second in the 800-meters (2:23.96). The ‘Jackets compete in the Brockport Invitational this weekend.
Penney is a member of
the class of 2012.