By Brandon Scalea
The men’s and women’s track and field teams rose to the occasion of hosting a meet on campus, dominating the Rider Invite for overall first-place finishes.
In both cases, Rider took the top spot by a wide margin over 15 other local schools on April 14.
“It was a great day for the track and field program,” said Head Coach Bob Hamer. “We had some athletes that really took advantage of the opportunity and had some big results.”
Senior Christin Patrick continued his impressive outdoor season with a pair of individual victories. He took first in the high jump with a mark of 1.99 meters, before cruising to a win in the 110-meter hurdles. His latter time of 14.89 was enough to qualify him for the IC4As.
Freshman Christian Wiedman kept the pace going for the Broncs with a first-place finish of his own in the 400-meter hurdles. The rookie scored a time of 54.74.
“Wiedman has been a really young, standout performer for the team this year,” said Hamer. “He is the quiet, steady performer who is poised to hit it big-time.”
Junior Russell Malko won MAAC Men’s Track Performer of the week after winning the 400 with a personal best time of 48.18. He also ran anchor in the Broncs’ 4×400 relay team that won first place.
In the 4×100 relay, Rider was able to notch some more team points with a third-place finish. The quartet of junior Alvin Abraham, sophomore Michael Cephas, freshman Seth Steinberg and freshman Marcquis Smallwood recorded a time of 42.44, an Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America-qualifying mark.
Senior captain Danniel Belay said the team’s win came at the perfect time.
“It’s a great momentum boost for us,” he said. “Our focus was mainly to compete and make the best of a chance to show out in front of our home crowd.”
On the women’s side, sophomore Yohanny Rodriguez continued to make her presence known in the outdoor season, winning both the triple jump and high jump.
“She is having a great season and every time she steps out to compete, she has the chance to do something special,” said Hamer.
Sophomores Lindsay Bauer and Nicole Berry also added first-place performances to the home team’s total in the long jump and 400 meter hurdles, respectively.
Prior to the start of the meet, Rider Athletics unveiled a new name for its track in honor of a late coach. The Michael P. Brady Track is named after the Hall of Fame coach, ’76, who died last November. A brief ceremony preceded the meet, with the team also announcing plans to soon construct an operations building connected to the track, which will help with the management of meets and recruiting. Numerous donations from the community made this possible, according to a university press release.
Hamer said it will be an honor to compete in future years on the track bearing the name of his highly successful predecessor.