By Shanna O’Mara
The track and field team competed at the 121st edition of the Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania April 23-25. Although the team struggled on day one, it redeemed itself with several first-place finishes and personal records throughout the weekend.
Head coach Bob Hamer was not satisfied with early results.
“We were not very good for the first two days at the Penn Relays,” he said.
Freshman Stephanie Lombardo threw the shot put 40’11”, placing 36th of 50. Junior Miranda Roberts, freshman Cleopatra Morrison, junior Daria Chadwick and junior Nicole Georgia finished 65th of 98 in the 4×100 relay with a time of 49.60 seconds.
Chadwick also cleared 5’3” in the high jump, as did her teammate, senior Taylor Harmon.
On day two, the men competed in the pole vault, high jump, shot put, distance medley and shuttle hurdle relay. Senior George Solujich had the highlight performance of the day, placing 20th of 50 in the shot put with a throw of 16.49 meters.
On April 25, several Broncs participated in events on the third day of Penn Relays while the rest of the team competed at the Lions Invitational, hosted by TCNJ.
In Pennsylvania, the women’s 4×800 relay team ran the second fastest time in this program’s history, finishing with an ECAC qualifying time of 9:03.62.
Junior Madeline Hummel, junior Stephanie Welte, senior Emily Ritter and freshman Victoria Brewer finished 14th of 24. Hamer was impressed with the women’s effort.
“Maddie ran a strong lead-off leg to put us in it,” Hamer said. “Welte has been running very well lately, and she continued the hot streak with a great leg to give Emily a chance. Emily was able to get us into second place; that is exactly what we were hoping for. She put Tori in good position to close it out for the team.”
The men’s 4×800 relay team also ran for an IC4A qualifying time, finishing 10th of 23. Freshman Anfernee Joseph, junior Darien Edwards, junior Tom McLaughlin and sophomore Scott Wood finished in 7:39.66.
“Darien has been running well lately, and he had a strong race today,” Hamer said. “McLaughlin had a bad race last weekend so I’m excited to see him bounce back today. We need to improve a bit when we get to the IC4A meet, but to run the qualifying mark again this weekend was a nice reward for their efforts.”
At TCNJ, Solujich continued his hot streak, winning the shot put with a distance of 16.93 meters. He commented on what it means to set a school record.
“The team is performing well lately.As for me, competitions have been going very well, and setting a school record at TCNJ has given me a great platform to continue with and strive to do better in the meets to come,” Solujich said.
Sophomore Devon Jefferson also won his event, the 110 hurdles, in 14.89 seconds.
The women’s 4×100 relay, ran by freshman Naomi Clarke, Chadwick, Roberts and Morrison, finished first in 48.60 seconds.
Senior Derek Lake placed second in the 1500 in 4:00.14, setting a personal record. Senior Joe Vicini placed third in the hammer with a distance of 46.68 meters. Freshman Shabazz Shuler placed third in the long jump with 6.91 meters, and freshman Christin Patrick placed third in the 110 hurdles in 15.19 seconds.
Freshman Tyree Adams placed sixth in the long jump, reaching 6.65 meters. Sophomore Brad Kaufmann finished seventh in the 1500, running a personal record of 4:03.94; and sophomore Garrett Camp set a personal record of 13’9” in the pole vault.
For the women, junior Olivia Rosenberger placed third in the triple jump with 11.16 meters; sophomore Juliann Brand placed fourth in the 400 hurdles in 1:05.46; and freshman Karoline Sandvig set personal records in both the javelin, throwing 30.96 meters, and the hammer, with 39.49 meters. Freshman Alexandra Santora ran a personal record of 5:02.70 in the 1500.
The Broncs will compete at the MAAC Championships May 2-3, and Hamer is eager to see how his team will perform against the best in the conference.
“We need to put it all together this week for the MAAC Championships,” he said. “We’ve had some successes over the last few weeks, but we need to step it up a notch to finish as high as we expect. The MAAC is a very strong track and field conference, and you do not just get points for showing up. You need to perform.”