By Victoria Lyons
The Rider track and field team finished with strong performances at the MAAC Indoor Championships, with the men finishing second out of five while the women finished fourth out of sixth last Friday at the Armory in New York City. The men came within just five points of winning the Championships but ultimately lost to Manhattan.
“The men competed very well but we fell a little short of our goal of winning the championship,” said Hamer. “We felt that we had a good chance to win, but Manhattan is a team that will not roll over without a fight.”
Senior Christian Gonzalez represented Rider well, winning the 800-meter with an IC4A qualifying time of 1:52.00, and also qualifying for the IC4As in the mile, placing second with a time of 4:05.33. Gonzalez broke Rider records in both of those events, and was named Most Outstanding Performer.
“Chris has been such a special athlete for this program and he has accomplished a lot in the last four years,” Hamer said. “It has been such an honor and privilege to coach him because he is such a committed, dedicated and talented athlete.”
Other achievements for the Rider men consisted of sophomore David Hightower finishing first in the 55-meter hurdles in 7.61, freshman Steve Brown winning the long jump with a distance of 7.22 meters and sophomore Dave Brown placing first in the 400-meter, qualifying for the IC4As with a time of 48.88.
The women were slightly overmatched by the competition, according to Hamer.
Sophomore Mia Riley won the 55-meter in 7.20, breaking the Rider record that was set in 2001.
“Mia Riley winning was a great surprise,” said Hamer. “She was the top seed, but there is a big difference between being the top seed and actually winning. She has really stepped up this year and I was very excited for her.”
Also for the Rider women, senior Chelsea Callan placed third in the 3,000-meter, earning a time of 10:14.16, while sophomore Gina Campagna finished third in the high jump with a distance of 1.60 meters.
Additionally, the men’s distance medley relay of Gonzalez, freshmen Joseph Carlin and Matt Sampson, and sophomore Greg Wesh came in second in 10:21.31, while the women’s 4×400 relay, consisting of senior Shaylah Counts, sophomores Lauren Findley, Erin McMullin and Ashley Hunter, placed third with a time of 4:00.46.
Next up for the track and field team is the IC4A Championships, which will be held on Saturday, March 5, and Sunday, March 6, in Boston.