By Thomas Albano
The track and field teams competed on Jan. 30 and 31 at the John Thomas Terrier Classic hosted by Boston University, an event that featured many IC4A and ECAC qualifiers and two Rider women distance runners breaking school records.
Senior distance runner Emily Ritter was involved in two Rider record performances, while junior distance runner Nicolette Mateescu set one of her own. Ritter finished fourth in the mile in an ECAC qualifying time of 4:44.33, and was part of the distance medley relay (DMR) team that finished second with a time of 11:53.65, another ECAC qualifying time. Also involved in that team were junior distance runner Stephanie Welte, senior sprinter Ashley Edwards and freshman sprinter Victoria Brewer.
Mateescu competed in the 5000-meter race, finishing 23rd in 17:21.61, also qualifying for ECACs.
Prior to their performances at the event, Head Coach Bob Hamer strongly felt that the two could perform as well as they did.
“I had discussed with each of them exactly what I thought they could run,” Hamer said. “I felt Emily could run 4:45 and Niky could run between 17:20 and 17:25. Each of them pretty much hit those times on the nose. It tells me they raced up to their potential, and I’m excited about where they can end up at by the end of the season. They both have set high goals for themselves, but they are reachable goals and I am confident that they are on the right path to reaching those goals.”
Mateescu felt her performance meant she has come a long way in her track career as a Bronc.
“I was very excited to qualify for indoor ECACs because I haven’t had a healthy indoor track season thus far in my collegiate career,” Mateescu said. “Getting the record for Rider was also really exciting. We had an extra-tough workout the week before the Terrier Classic and then just maintained fitness the week of the meet.”
Another key ECAC qualifying performance for the women’s team came from freshman hurdler Lexie Fraction, who finished third in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.76 seconds.
The men’s team was not to be outdone, however, as they provided quite a number of IC4A qualifiers. Sophomore pole-vaulter Erik Adamcik finished third with a height of 16’00.75”, tying his own Rider record and qualifying for the IC4As. Qualifying performances also came from sophomore hurdlers Devon Jefferson and Wil Asamoah, who placed third and fourth in the 60-meter hurdles, respectively, with both finishing in 8.25 seconds.
Jefferson was proud to be a part of a group with many IC4A and ECAC qualifiers coming out of the Terrier Classic.
“It feels great being a part of a team with so much dedication and talent,” Jefferson said. “Everybody works hard at practice and even harder at track meets, so the outcomes are expected to be great, and seeing all the qualifiers are a bonus as well.”
Other IC4A qualifiers from the men included: sophomore distance runner Jonathan Jackson, who placed 10th in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:52.14; sophomore sprinter Lamont Higgins, who placed 25th in the 400-meter run in 49.17 seconds; and the 4×4 relay team of Jackson, Higgins, sophomore sprinter Christopher Reubel and junior hurdler Darien Edwards, which finished 11th in 3:16.68.
Hamer is impressed at the number of students who have qualified for IC4As and ECACs already; however, he feels there are more expectations to live up to.
“It is great to have as many qualifiers as we do right now,” Hamer said. “We have just about everyone that we had expected at the start of the year right now, which is great. However, we still have some athletes who are capable of hitting the marks, and we are looking to accomplish those marks in the upcoming meets. The motto every year is to fill up the bus. The athletes are doing a great job of filling up the bus.”
The next track event is the TCNJ Dual, which takes place at Lawrenceville Prep on Feb. 6, and Hamer wants to use that event to fix any problems the team has before the MAAC Championship arrives.
“We need to improve our consistency in some events so we can contend for a championship in a few weeks,” Hamer said. “The TCNJ Dual is one of the best meets of the year. It is all about betraying your opponent. Time, distance and height do not matter if you don’t beat your opponent. This concept always brings out the best in our team, and I am looking forward to a great night.”