By Dylan Manfre
It was a historic weekend as some of the best runners in the country competed at the 125th Penn Relays and as TCNJ hosted its yearly invitational.
The track and field team participated at Franklin Field at Pennsylvania University from April 25 to 27 and raced at TCNJ for the Lions Invitational on April 26.
The women’s distance medley relay team consisting of freshman Teagan Schein-Becker, junior Nicole Berry, junior Kristin Seigle and freshman Sophia Castronovo ran the fourth fastest time in program history clocking in at 11:51.59.
Castronovo was a part of the women’s 4×400-meter relay team that finished at 3:50.27. The quartet was a hair over two seconds away from the fastest in program history.
The men’s 4×400 ran 3:14.24, which is No. 4 all-time for Rider. The relay quartet consisted of freshmen James Green, Tahkwan Ingraham and Jerome Boyer along with senior Russell Malko.
On the field, senior Matthew Kramer broke his own Bronc record in the men’s hammer throw at the Penn Relays with a distance of 56.99 meters. The throw was also an Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America qualifying mark.
At the Penn Relays graduate student Sara Gardner’s winning time of 13.53 in the preliminaries of the 100-meter hurdles on April 26 qualified her for the final the following day.
“Winning prelims felt really good,” Gardner said. “To win the heat puts you on this confidence level, like, ‘I’m ranked No. 2 going into the final.’”
A tight finish between Naomi Taylor, of the University of Houston, and Gardner, saw Taylor claim first place by a fraction of a second in the championship race. Her time of 13.46, qualified her for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) meet on May 10.
“[Taylor] was really good,” Gardner said. “I think her personal record was 12.84 [seconds], but in perspective, it shows that we’re slowly chipping away at my time. It was great to go up against such good competition. She is really talented and to be close to her level is great.”
Her performances earned her Women’s Track Performer of the Week April 30. It was her second weekly honor this month.
At the Lions Invitational, junior Isaiah Jean-Baptiste and freshman Ben Woodward took fifth and sixth in the men’s 1500-meter run with times of 4:07 and 4:09, respectively. Freshman Will Spector took first in heat four of the same event, crossing at 4:16.
In the women’s 100-meter run, Rider saw four top-10 finishes as freshman Genesis Walker, graduate student Cleopatra Morrison, freshman Gabbi Dillard and freshman Yvette Assongba crossed the line in third, sixth, eighth and ninth places, respectively.
Head Coach Bob Hamer spoke about his team’s work ethic moving forward with the MAAC Championship meet quickly approaching.
“This time of the year is when we expect our athletes to be in the best shape they’ve been in all year,” Hamer said. “This is a time where they hopefully can go out and compete and really feel good about what they’re doing. I definitely think [the team] has a heightened awareness going into MAACs.”
Monmouth University will host the two-day championship meet on May 4 and 5.
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