By Tom Albano
Approaching the final weekend of their winter season, the men’s and women’s track and field teams have prepared to compete in the MAAC championship today at the New Balance Armory in New York.
The Broncs have been focused on and preparing for this day for a while.
“It is the focal point of our season and we set up our training and preparation to be our best at the MAAC meet,” Head Coach Bob Hamer said.
Junior Joe Carlin, a middle-distance runner, feels confident in both teams and how they can handle this weekend’s competition.
“The guys’ side is ready to go for this week’s championship,” Carlin said. “I think it’s safe to say that every single guy in the locker room is pretty sick of second place. The girls are easily having their best year and are ready to compete for a championship as well. It’s a pretty cool feeling, looking around the team meeting knowing every single one of us is capable of being a champion tonight.”
The preparation for the MAAC championship comes off a successful meet for the Broncs at the Rider-Lafayette meet on Feb. 8, where the Broncs broke records and had several IC4A/ECAC championship qualifiers. Record breakers include freshman Dashana Ransome, who set a Rider record of 5.67 meters in the long jump; freshman Madeline Hummel, who finished the 800-meter run in a Rider record time of 2 minutes, 15.77 seconds and freshman Miranda Roberts, who tied the pole vault record, reaching a 3.3-meter finish.
These performances weren’t the only ones to stick out. Senior David Hightower won the 60-meter hurdle and sophomore George Solujich won the shot put event.
“Ransome is having a really nice year, and she is getting better every meet,” Hamer said. “Solujich is having a great year in the shot put, where he has made tremendous improvement. We are looking for him to provide the spark for the throwers.”
So far, the Broncs have achieved success this season with great performances in several meets, but still have concerns about staying healthy.
“Our biggest issues have been injuries and illness,” Hamer said. “If we can get everyone to the start of their events healthy and ready to go, we will have a great meet.”
Freshman distance runner Tom McLaughlin knows that picking up points when they are available will be crucial.
“I know the distance team has been on getting healthy because we’re going to need to fight for some valuable points that can be won in our events,” McLaughlin said.
Now the Broncs are set and concentrating on today’s event. There is a huge focus on the need for a team effort and success in the events, as the team knows this will not be the easiest of meets.
“Both teams have a great shot at winning a MAAC title, but we know it’s going to take our best performance of the year,” McLaughlin said.
Hightower feels that the team that never quits will be the ones walking away as the champions.
“I believe this championship meet is going to be a dogfight and whoever has more heart by the end will come out on top,” Hightower said.