Broncs post nine top-10 finishes at Duke

By Austin Ferguson

The track and field team competed at different invitational meets on April 19 and 20 at Widener, Georgia Tech, Princeton and Duke, with one athlete putting up a qualifying mark for the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) championships.

The Broncs’ biggest event of the weekend came at the Duke Invitational in Durham, North Carolina, including nine top-10 finishes and a victory in the women’s high jump.

In the women’s high jump, junior Quinn Bithell finished first, reaching 1.68 meters in the event to beat 12 other competitors. 

Junior Ronetta Hunter had the only other top five finish for Rider’s women, placing fourth in shot put with a distance of 14.15 meters. 

The men’s best performance came from senior Michael Horn, who finished second in the triple jump with a distance of 15.39 meters. 

“Going into the event, I was feeling really well,” Horn said. “I had a good week of practice and my legs were feeling loose. I knew that if I executed what I worked on in practice, good results would show.”

The mark qualified him for the IC4A championships and, according to Rider Head Coach Bob Hamer, possibly landed him a spot in NCAA qualifiers. 

“Mike Horn was a big highlight today at Duke finishing second in the [triple jump] and jumping a mark that likely could get him to the NCAA Preliminary round this spring,” Hamer said. “It is really great to see Mike jumping like this, he really took a big step backwards this winter with an injury, but he has really been good the last few weeks.”

In other men’s action, three Broncs placed in the top 10 in the javelin throw. Freshmen Anthony Ragusa, Christopher Bagnell and Greg Paloso finished fourth, ninth and 10th in the event, achieving distances of 60.13 meters, 56.94 meters and 54.55 meters, respectively.

In the men’s hammer throw event, senior Matthew Kraemer threw for 56.47 meters to place sixth.

The quartet of juniors Michael Cephas and Benjamin Aidoo, sophomore Marquis Smallwood and freshman Ayomide Oyewole finished eighth in the men’s 4×100 relay with a time 41.81 seconds. 

Oyewole also had a top 10 finish in the men’s long jump and finished in 10th with a jump of 6.95 meters.

Rider had eight competitors place in the top five in their respective events at the Widener Invitational in Chester, Pennsylvania on April 19 and 20, including three top 10 finishes in the men’s 800 meter event.

In the competition, freshman Mike Mazzei, junior Isaiah Jean-Baptiste and freshman Donny Vineyard finished third, fifth and sixth, respectively. All three runners finished within a second of each other, with Mazzei posting a time of 1:54.49.

In the men’s 1500 meter, freshman Ben Woodward finished with a time of 4:00.10, which was enough for fifth place. 

The Broncs had a third place finish in the men’s 3000 meter steeplechase from freshman Will Spector, who finished with a time of 9:46.54.

Senior Alexis Pignataro threw herself into fifth place in the women’s hammer throw with a distance of 42.48 meters. 

Seniors Destiny Kearny and Jennifer Maurer both finished in the top five in the women’s triple jump, with Kearny earning a second-place performance at 11.43 meters.

Rider sent graduate student Sara Gardner to Atlanta to compete in the women’s 100-meter hurdle event at the Georgia Tech Invitational on April 19. Gardner came in seventh, finishing with a time of 14.37 seconds.

Freshman Kevin Heredia had the best finish for the Broncs at the Larry Ellis Invitational in Princeton on April 20, finishing fourth in the unseeded men’s 800 meter dash with a time of 1:54.45.

“It was a mixed bag this weekend for the team,” said Hamer. “We were really hoping for some breakthrough performances, and we did get some, but not as many as we had desired.”

The Broncs will be splitting up again when the team travels to Philadelphia for the 125th Penn Relays on April 25 and April 26 as others will compete in the Lions Invitational at TCNJ in Ewing on April 26 and April 27.

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