As Rider’s students were getting back into the swing of school, the Track and Field team entered the New Balance Collegiate Invitational with high hopes and came away with new school records.
The event started Friday, Feb. 6, and the Broncs jumped out of the gate with a bang. Senior Kelly Wojciehowski broke the Rider record on Friday for the 3,000-meter, placing 29th with a 10:30.91 time.
“I was very excited because it was a record I have been trying to get for a few years now,” said Wojchichowski.
“I was real happy that she was able to finish very strongly over the second half of the race,” Head Coach Bob Hamer said. “That is something that we have worked on over the last several years with everyone.”
Two Broncs also placed in the top 10 in the long jump. Senior Kelly Kajunski placed sixth and sophomore Chelsea Callan placed ninth.
On the first day, the men’s relay team, sophomores Mike Soroko, Derek Rogers, Christian Gonzalez and junior Phil Capaldi qualified for the IC4As with a 10:06.91 time.
Senior Matt Dahl placed 19th overall and won his heat in the 3,000-meters with a time of 8:31.59, also setting a new personal record.
“He is running with a lot of confidence right now, and every time he steps on the track, he knows something special is going to happen,” Hamer said.
The next day, the Broncs stepped onto the field with the hopes to outdo the performance they gave the day before.
In the weight throw, sophomore John Clark finished 25th and junior Brandon Wolf placed 33rd.
For the women, it was a record-breaking day.
“Coming back on Saturday with the 4×800 relay, we were all ready to run and to run fast,” said junior Lauren Lester.
The 4×800 relay team of Callan, Lester and freshmen Kristen Perrine and Heather Giovagnoli finished in 9:19.93, which is a new record for Rider in the 4×800 relay. The time qualified them for the ECACs.
“It was a breakthrough performance for the women and a real breakthrough for Lauren,” Hamer added.
Other accomplishments for the Track and Field team include junior Alicia Price’s 21st placement in the weight throw, senior Tabatha Haskins’ 24th placement in triple jump, and senior Megan Crowe’s 47th placement in the mile with a time of 5:28.76.
“This weekend really set us up with some confidence for the next couple of weeks,” said Wojciehowski. “Everyone is working hard and we hope to see that in our performances in two weeks where it really counts.”
Breaking the school record and qualifying for the ECACs was a goal Lester has been trying to achieve since her freshman year. Now that the team has achieved it, Lester said it was a “great way to end the meet.”
“Our team was very successful at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational,” Callan said. “Each member of the team ran very competitively in his or her respective race.”
Hamer was also proud of how competitively the team ran against the quality teams at the invitational.
“We are confident that our performances will improve over the next weeks as we approach the championship portion of our schedule,” he said.
This weekend, the Broncs host the Rider/Lafayette Invitational, and then the Broncs return to the Armory for the conference championships Feb. 20.