By Dylan Manfre
Ideal racing conditions allowed the Rider Invitational to take place on April 13 at the Michael P. Brady Track & Field Complex without any interruptions and produced a host of strong performances and personal records.
The meet featured 14 teams and was one of largest events of the season. Both the men’s and women’s teams claimed victory in the meet with the men’s squad tallying 166.5 and the women scoring 137.
Head Coach Bob Hamer was extremely pleased with his team’s showing today as the Broncs prepare to race at the MAAC Championship Meet on May 4 and May 5.
“I’m really excited about where we are and I think we did a lot of really great things today,” Hamer said after the meet. “We have high expectations for [our] teams and that’s what I’m hoping for, that each week we’re getting better. I’m really excited about our progress.”
Seven of the top 11 overall times in the women’s 100-meter run belonged to Rider sprinters.
Graduate student Sara Gardner led the Broncs with a time of 12.32 seconds for second overall. A fraction of a second separated Gardner and Penn’s Mia Knight, who claimed first.
Gardner also won the 100-meter hurdles in an Eastern College Athletic Conference qualifying time of 13.67 seconds.
Freshman Jessica Fratianni was plagued with a pulled hamstring throughout her indoor season, but recovered and took first place in the 200-meter run and set a personal record by four seconds.
“I’m really happy I was able to push through the injuries to hit my personal record,” Fratianni said.
Sophomore Paris Boucher recorded her personal record in the women’s 800-meter run and placed fourth overall with a time of 2.16.
Boucher noticed in the first lap the girls went out “pretty fast and my last couple races haven’t been that fast so it was a little bit different,” she said. “It wasn’t until the last 200 [meters of the race] where the other girls started catching up. Throughout the race it felt pretty good.”
Senior distance runner Matt Gonzalez was battling through injuries his entire campaign. In August 2018, he suffered a thyroid injury and a strained hip five months later.
Gonzalez trained tirelessly to return to the competition and had the performance of his life with a 53 second improvement from his time at the Rider 5-Way Meet in the 3000-meter steeple. He finished in fourth place with a time of 10:10.
“It’s great moving forward for the rest of the season especially with [the conference championship] only a few weeks away,” Gonzalez said. “It was a great improvement and I’m really happy with my time.”
With the MAAC Championship meet a few weeks away, Hamer said that one of the biggest things his runners can do to get in the right mindset is to make track a conscious priority.
“I asked [the team] when we were in our [pre-meet] meeting, ‘You need to give me three weeks where everything you do in the training and decisions you make, you put track as a priority,’” Hamer said. “When you’re out making decisions with rest, nutrition and recovery, have a purpose.”
The teams return to action at the Duke Invitational, Georgia Tech Invitational, Princeton Invitational and Widener Invitational on April 29 and April 30 with athletes attending different events.