By Carlos Toro
One week after the track and field team finished inside the top 20 at the Colonial Relays, the Broncs returned home to win the Rider Invite.
The home meet, a one-day event on April 8, saw Rider take home the men’s and women’s competition and several Broncs qualified for the IC4A/ECAC Championships with multiple strong performances.
Head Coach Bob Hamer said the win was huge for the program and gave the team a lot of momentum heading into the final month of the outdoor season before the MAAC Championships.
“Anytime that you can win an invitational, it will boost your confidence,” Hamer said. “We still have many areas to continue to improve upon if we wish to be competing for the championship in one month.”
The Rider men earned 236 points in the 13-team event and beat second-place St. Joseph’s (Pennsylvania) by 130 points. On the women’s side, the Broncs women finished first out of 15 teams with 154.66 points to defeat second-place St. Joseph’s (Pennsylvania) by 24 points.
Freshman Asia Young continued to impress for Rider, setting a new university record in the long jump with a leap of 5.86 meters. Not only did she win the event but also qualified for the ECAC Championships.
“Asia has been outstanding this year,” Hamer said. “She has been great since the very first meet. The most impressive thing in my mind is how consistent she has been. It is always difficult to compete at a high level consistently and it is especially difficult as a freshman, but she has handled every challenge with the experience of an upperclassman.”
Junior Tyree Adams won the long jump with a personal record of 7.24 meters, qualifying for the IC4A Championship. Another IC4A qualifier was senior Devon Jefferson, who ran the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.89 seconds.
Sophomore Marcell Brown won the shot put with a distance of 15.23 meters and he also set a new personal record in the discus throw with a throw of 35.16 meters.
Sophomore Nate Bowie won the 110-meter hurdles with an IC4A qualifying time of 14.70 seconds.
In the women’s 1,500-meter run, junior Tori Brewer finished in fifth with a time of 4:55.50. Freshman Peri Pavicic placed 14th in that same event with a time of 5:02.03.
Junior Sara Gardner won the 100-meter hurdles event with an ECAC-qualifying time of 14.14 seconds. Gardner said she was really happy with her performance at home.
“I was pretty content with the 14.14 time,” Gardner said. “Of course, I would have loved to run a bit faster, but I was pretty happy with that time. It was a little windy that day, but not too bad for the hurdles.”
Hamer said the team is at a much better position this time around compared to how they were last season.
“In the field events, we were very good and they definitely competed at another level than we had previously this season,” Hamer said. “We need to carry this momentum forward and perform consistently at this level each and every week.”
That momentum has translated into an improved position in the U.S. Track & Field, Cross Country Coaches Association regional rankings. The men placed 12th in the Mid-Atlantic regional rankings while the women were 18th in its rankings. Both teams jumped up two spots from last week’s rankings.
Rider will compete in the Bison Outdoor Classic from April 14-15 and, at the same time, have several Broncs compete at the Chester Quarry Classic on April 15.
Gardner said the win at the Rider Invite puts the team in a great position to have a strong showing at the MAAC Championships.
“Winning as a team felt really good,” Gardner said. “Overall, it’s a great place for us to be in going into MAACs.”