Last weekend’s Lafayette Five-Way Invitational marked the beginning of the outdoor season for the men’s and women’s track teams.
There is always an adjustment to make when transitioning from running indoors to outdoors, and the 35-degree weather this past weekend did not make that process any easier. However, according to Head Coach Rob Pasquariello, the team was able to put that aside and have a good opener.
“I thought it was a really good first meet, especially dealing with the weather issues,” said Pasquariello. “We try not to make a big deal out of the weather. These kids are experienced enough that they know how to come prepared for it.”
The weekend highlight was sophomore Karlise Cureton’s Rider record-setting time of 14.75 seconds in the 100-meter hurdles, which broke the previous record of 14.88 seconds.
With this weekend’s record-breaking performance, Cureton now owns all of Rider’s short hurdle records. Her event coach, Robert Abdullah, trains her in the hurdles and is confident that she can excel to a high level of competition and qualify for nationals.
“It really comes down to what Karlise wants,” Abdullah said. “If she wants to be on the highest level, she can get there. Our goal has always been to be the best that we can be and if the nationals is the highest level, that’s where we want to go. She has potential to do very well. She’s a very good runner because she puts her heart into it.”
Cureton mirrored Abdullah’s hopes for her to reach nationals, but was admittedly surprised at how well she’s performed lately.
“I am expecting to at least qualify for nationals and hopefully NCAAs,” said Cureton. “I am actually surprised at how I’ve been competing this year. I didn’t expect to do this well. I just wanted to improve from last year and help the team.”
Also for the women, juniors Elizabeth Spokony and Tabatha Haskins placed second and third in the triple jump, respectively. Senior Elizabeth Clatch and sophomore Jennifer Alksmant both placed second in the javelin and discus, respectively.
On the men’s side, four Broncs came away with first-place finishes: senior Andrew Dagenais in the javelin, freshman John Clark in the discus, freshman Mike Soroko in the 800-meter and freshman Chris Gonzalez in the 3,000-meter. Dagenais and Clark both qualified for IC4As.
“I thought we did a pretty good job,” said Assistant Coach Bob Hamer. “The kids went out there and had the right attitude despite the weather and the unfavorable conditions, and competed really well. On the men’s side we had two guys qualify for IC4As, which was great. We didn’t have great times, but that will come as the season progresses and we get some better weather.”
For the rest of the Broncs’ women’s side, junior Tabatha Haskins finished third in the triple jump and fifth in the 100-meter hurdles, and sophomore Lauren Lester placed third in the 800-meter.
With the men, senior John Smith finished third in the 1,500-meter, junior A.J. Parillo placing third in the 200-meter dash and sixth in the 400-meter ash and freshman Peter Wandell placed third in the 800-meter.
This weekend’s tournament at Duke will be a good barometer for how the team will compete this season, according to Hamer.
“[It’s] a great invitational with a lot of great programs, teams and individuals,” Hamer said. “We’ll get a chance to see how we measure up when weather isn’t an issue. We’ll see how our kids handle being in a highly competitive environment and see if we can get the marks and the times that we’re looking for.”
Hamer and Pasquariello both expressed excitement and optimism for this upcoming season, noting that the team has a good mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen.
“We are a much better outdoor team on the men’s and women’s sides because we have several different events that we excel in,” Pasquariello said. “We have the hurdles and throwing events, so we’re always better outdoors. With the kids we have back, we have a good mix of younger and older kids that are at some of the highest levels you can reach, so we’re looking forward to a successful season.”