By Shariq Marshall
The track and field teams competed at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 2-4, where the men’s 4×1500 team set a school record to help the team to an eighth-place finish out of 42 colleges, while the women finished 21st out of 49.
While Head Coach Bob Hamer hoped for better results at the meet, he was generally happy with a lot of his top performers.
“We have made the effort to have a full and complete team effort this weekend,” Hamer said.
The men’s 4×1500 relay team consists of four distance runners: senior Dylan Hallahan, sophomore Brad Kaufmann, senior Derek Lake and junior Jon Knipper. Their sixth-place finish, with a time of 16:17.42, broke a Rider record by approximately three seconds that stood since 1994.
Lake felt honored to have made a historic Rider achievement and break a mark that has stood for over 20 years.
“In our sport, relay races are particularly special because you are accountable for your teammates’ success, and they for yours,” Lake said. “Inking our names in the spring Track and Field record books is rewarding, yet humbling, as we share that space with some extraordinary Rider athletes. I am proud of the effort put forth by my teammates and look forward to carrying this initial success forward throughout the season.”
This finish was the one Hamer was most proud of.
“Each of them ran a good race and did the job they were asked to do,” Hamer said.
They were not alone in record-breaking, however. The women’s 1,500 meter relay team — made up of junior Nicolette Mateescu, freshman Lexie Taylor, junior Stephanie Welte and freshman Alexandra Santora — also broke a Rider record, placing ninth with a time of 20:14.75.
While her team did not break as long-standing of a record as the men’s team did, Mateescu said both record-breaking performances show how the team element can play as much of a role in track as the solo events do.
“It is awesome working as a relay because most track events are individual, but the teamwork aspect of the sport really shows when running relay events,” Mateescu said. “It was great efforts by both the men’s and women’s teams this weekend, and all of the relay records really show it.”
Other top performers from the men included two senior throwers whose finishes qualified them for IC4As: George Solujich, who won the shot put with a distance of 16.48 meters, and Andrew Pozo, who placed third in the hammer throw with a distance of 53.29 meters. Junior Charles Wilks finished fourth in the discus with a distance of 150’11” and freshman Joe Clarke’s 165-foot javelin throw was good for fifth.
Another fifth-place performance came from the 4×800 relay team consisting of freshman sprinter Anfernee Joseph, sophomore mid-distance runner Scott Wood, junior distance runner Tom McLaughlin and sophomore distance runner Jonathan Jackson.
As for the women, senior distance runner Emily Ritter won the 3,000 meter steeplechase and qualified for ECACs, finishing in 10:38.73.
Other key showings from the women’s team included freshman thrower Stephanie Lombardo, who finished third in the shot put with a distance of 13.31 meters; junior Daria Chadwick, who finished third in the high jump with a height of 5’5”; and junior pole vaulter Miranda Roberts, who finished fifth with a height of 10’11.75”.
The next event for the teams is the Rider Invite, which takes place on April 11 on Rider’s own track and field complex.
Additional reporting by Thomas Albano