By Carlos Toro
Despite the inclement weather at the Lafayette Invitational on March 29, the men’s track and field team battled the elements to win the meet, while the women finished third.
Head Coach Bob Hamer was pleased with his teams’ performances and the men’s team winning its second straight event.
“They had a great attitude coming in to the meet and they were not going to let the conditions affect their performance,” Hamer said. “They have been training real hard and they were not going to waste the opportunity.”
Easton, Pa., where the event was held, was having its share of harsh weather conditions — as the athletes had to battle more than an inch of rain and wind gusts of up to 21 mph.
The men finished with 120 team points, beating out second-place Lafayette by 10 and third-place East Stroudsburg by 11.
Junior thrower George Solujich and sophomore thrower Charles Wilks, who placed first and second, respectively, in both the shot put and discus, propelled the men’s team to victory.
Though Solujich admits that rain is a tough factor for throwers, he and his teammates found a way to fight through it.
“Whenever it rains, it probably affects the throwers the most,” Solujich said. “Rain is not something that we can prepare for. We just have to deal with it and try to make the best of the situation.”
Other notable results from the men include freshman Kyle Bryant winning the triple jump with a distance of 13.75 meters and placing second in the high jump, and senior Greg Smith winning the long jump (6.59 meters).
The women placed third out of eight teams and totaled 84 points, finishing behind second-place East Stroudsburg with 98 and Lafayette with 152.
Sophomores Dashana Ransome and Miranda Roberts finished first and second, respectively, in the 100-meter hurdles.
In the jump events, sophomore Olivia Rosenberger won the long jump at 5.19 meters while senior Lauryn Strebeck won the triple jump.
Despite the weather forcing a lot of athletes to make adjustments, Hamer wasn’t fazed.
“The weather definitely had an effect on performances today,” Hamer said. “However, everyone had to compete in the same conditions. We try to take the approach with our team that we need to learn to compete in all conditions.”
Rider will hope for better weather and equal success in its next meet at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Va., from April 4-5.
There is a feeling of confidence that the team can contend strongly in the MAAC.
“We are a successful program with high expectations and potential,” Wilks said. “I believe that if we can carry the wins and constantly get better throughout the season, we will be a contender for MAACs.”