By Tom Regan
After a solid performance at the Princeton New Year’s Invitational and a strong month in January, the Rider men’s and women’s track and field team took the TCNJ Dual on Feb. 1 by storm. The men won 105-66, while the women won 98-66.
Going into the season, Head Coach Bob Hamer explained how important it was for the women to each do their part to help the team.
“We discussed with the women about the importance of focusing on their role and successfully fulfilling that role on the team,” Hamer said.
Senior thrower Rhea Phipps of the women’s squad did more than enough to contribute. Phipps won the weight throw, breaking the former record held by Olympian Jazmine Fenlator, ’07, with a distance of 17.98 meters.
Phipps’s first-place night was one of many for the women. Sophomore sprinter La’tazah Coleman added a victory at the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.22 seconds. Phipps was not the only Bronc to set a record that night, as men’s junior thrower George Solujich won the shot put with a Rider record of 16.57 meters.
Several Rider men followed Solujich’s lead. Senior distance runner Corey O’Neil won the 3,000-meter run at 8:56.64, while senior sprinter Wilvenson Baptiste took the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.69 seconds.
Freshman sprinter Lamont Higgins placed first in the 400-meter at 49.87 seconds, and senior mid-distance runner Joseph Carlin won the 800-meter at 1:56.28. The men and women also won the 4×200, 4×400, and 4×800 relays. Higgins believes that the effort he, freshman sprinter Wil Asamoah, Baptiste, and junior jumper David Prater put forth in the 4×200 meter really set the tone for the rest of the meet.
“The 4×200 relay was important because we didn’t lose a relay after that,” Higgins said. “It allowed us to finish the meet with a roar.”
While pleased with the win, Hamer knows that the team has some growing to do in order to reach the goal of a conference championship.
“If we want to compete for a conference championship, we must learn to compete and, more importantly, learn to win,” Hamer said. “Last night helps in that process.”