By Carlos Toro
Two weeks removed from the MAAC Championship, the track and field team continued breaking records when it participated at the IC4A/ECAC Championships.
Several Broncs earned All-East honors when they competed at the two-day event from March 4-5 in Boston.
Head Coach Bob Hamer feels the past weekend went well for the athletes involved.
“I really believe it was a successful weekend,” Hamer said. “We came away with two individual and one relay All-East performances, which is great for those athletes. We had several athletes compete at a very high level, and this meet provides an opportunity for our athletes to showcase their abilities against top competition. We were hoping for some better results in the field events but we made some decent progress in areas and gave some athletes some much-needed experience at a high-level championship meet.”
On the first day of the meet, senior Darien Edwards set a Rider record in the 500-meter race, placing sixth to qualify for the finals with a time of 1:02.87. Freshman Alvin Abraham tied a personal record in the 400-meter with a time of 49.19, good for 26th place in the event.
Other Broncs’ personal records were set in the first day of competition with senior Stephanie Welte running a 4:57.81 mile to finish 16th and junior Devon Jefferson completing the 60-meter hurdles in 8.13.
Senior Johnathan Jackson, who won the 800-meter event in the MAAC Championships, began his successful weekend with a personal record in the 1,000-meter race on March 4. Jackson placed third in the qualifying race with a time of 2:26.05. Jackson nearly broke that personal record in the finals when he finished sixth with a time of 2:26.73 to earn All-East accolades.
Senior Megan McGarrity performed in the 3,000-meter event and finished 18th out of 26 runners with a time of 9:51.38. She said she was happy with her performance, but knew she could still do better.
“I would consider my performance at the ECAC’s a successful one,” McGarrity said. “I do wish I could have finished better. However, I did get a personal record and that was the best I could do that day. Throughout the race, I was on pace to have a breakthrough performance, but didn’t have the extra kick at the end. I intend to work on that for the outdoor season so that doesn’t happen again.”
McGarrity said she did well in the meet and that this year’s team is special.
“As for the team, I have all the confidence in the world that these athletes will be successful if they believe in themselves and build up a fire within them to win,” McGarrity said. “We have amazing coaches. Therefore, if the athletes do what they are told and trained, they will hit the goals they wish to accomplish. This is a special team and we all need to work together and concentrate our efforts in the same place.”
In the 60-meter hurdles, junior Sara Gardner finished in second place with a time of 8.53 seconds to be one of several Rider runners to earn All-East honors.
In the 4×800-meter event, four Broncs placed third in the event. The group of freshman Isaiah Jean-Baptiste, junior Anthony Ardino, senior Scott Wood and Jackson finished in third-place, and set a new Rider record with a time of 7:32.83.
Other accolades the team received are Head Coach Bob Hamer being named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Indoor Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year, his first time winning the award, and junior Tyree Adams being named the Men’s Field Most Outstanding Performer.
The team’s next meet will be at the Penn Challenge on March 25, followed by the 52nd Annual Berkeley Relays Colonial Relays from March 30-31.
Hamer said the program is making strides, but believes it can reach even higher levels of success.
“One of my big goals for the program is for us to not just be happy to qualify for the IC4A/ECAC Championships, but to compete at a level where we are winning medals and collecting All East certificates,” Hamer said. “To me, that is the sign of us taking the next step as a program. We need to continue to keep the mindset that we can succeed at a very high level and get every area of the program to believe we can be competitive on an eastern level. That would be a great accomplishment.”