By Sharnay Wood
After a productive performance at the New Balance Invitational, the Rider track and field team had a great showing, representing the university well in a highly competitive meet.
The women’s track and field team finished with a time of 9:15:50, setting a new Rider record.
“The women are very excited about breaking another relay record this year. They have worked real hard to get to this level, and I am very pleased with their performances,” said head coach Bob Hamer. “They are setting high goals, training very hard and racing very well to achieve those goals.”
The relay kicked off with senior Chelsea Callan at the New Invitational, where she got the team going off on the right path. Next, junior Lauren Staples linked the anchor leg to junior Heather Giovagnoli in enough time, where Giovagnoli was able to run a firm anchor leg across the qualifier to set a new Rider record. The Broncs’ women’s team broke the record by almost four seconds and gained an ECAC qualifying time.
The men, however, got off on a shaky foot, but finished with a qualifying time of 10:05:98. This included sophomores Greg Wesh and David Hightower, junior David South and senior Chrisitian Gonzalez who competed.
“The men’s race on Friday was a little disappointing because we had a few bad handoffs that affected our overall time and place,” said Hamer. “Hopefully, it is a learning experience for us and we grow from it.”
Both teams took on TCNJ, where the men emerged victorious and the women were defeated. The men’s squad is ranked 13th nationally in the Mid-Atlantic region by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
The men performed well against their tough opponents from TCNJ. All three participants were IC4A qualifiers. Second place (7.64) was taken by Hightower, sophomore James Burroughs finished third in the 55-meter hurdles (7.64) and Gonzalez won the 1,000 meter (2:26.11). Brown, sophomore Daequan Kim, and junior Ron Moore had an impressive overall time of 1:30.99.
Wesh won the mile (4:15.08), sophomore David Brown won the 400-meter (50.66), freshman Steven Brown won the triple jump, and freshman George Osti won the weight throw (15.27).
Senior Brian Legget took on the pole vault and won (4.57), sophomore Perry Asare won the long jump (7.01), and sophomore Jorge Merino won the shot put (15.30).
For the 4×800 relay, freshman Matt Sampson and South won with a time of 8:00.60.
For the women, freshman Ciana Woods, won the long jump (5.03).
In addition, Callan won the mile (5:12.94), sophomore Erin McMullin won the 400-meter (58.51) and junior Kristen Perrine won the 1,000-meter (3:00.82).
Senior Shaylah Counts, plus fellow senior Jillian Rubbico, sophomores Mia Riley and McMullin won with a time of 1:46.59 (4×200 relay).
Junior Heather Giovagnoli, Perrine and junior Laura Staples won with an overall time of 9:33.67 (4×800 relay).
Although it was a tough defeat for the Broncs, the coach and players remain optimistic for future performances.
“We just need to continue to get better each week and we will have opportunities to win down the road,” said Hamer.
The Broncs are set to face off against Lafayette today.