By Carlos Toro
The track and field team wrapped up competition at the Annual Colonial Relays from March 30 to April 1.
The men finished in eighth place out of 55 teams, while the women placed 18th out of 62 teams in the competition. Head Coach Bob Hamer said the team’s performance did not meet its expectations.
“We were hoping for some better results overall,” Hamer said. “We definitely had some highlights but not as many as we had expected going into the weekend.”
In the first day of competition, freshman Fidele Jules won the hammer throw in with a toss of 45.72 meters. Sophomore Connor Riley turned in a career-best time in the 10,000-meter run. Riley finished with a time of 32:42.39.
Junior Sara Gardner had an outstanding performance in the competition, setting a Rider record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.99 seconds on the second day of competition. Gardner finished in second place in that event, only a tenth of a second behind the event winner. Redshirt senior Daria Chadwick, who previously held the Rider record, finished in fifth place in that competition with a time of 14.79 seconds.
Hamer lauded Gardner’s record-setting performance and her ability to consistently produce great results.
“Sara Gardner was very good,” Hamer said. “She broke the school record in the 100-meter and became the first woman [in Rider history] to break 14.00 seconds. She is such a consistent performer and she didn’t let the weather affect her in any way.”
In the 110-meter hurdles, sophomore Nate Bowie placed third with a time of 14.65 seconds and teammate senior Devon Jefferson was just behind Bowie, finishing in fourth place with a time of 15 seconds.
Junior Tyree Adams finished in second place in the long jump with a jump of 6.78 meters, and sophomore Avery Killiebrew tied for seventh place with a leap of 6.02 meters. In the women’s long jump, freshman Asia Young finished in seventh place with a jump of 5.4 meters.
Senior Johnathan Jackson qualified for the IC4A in the 800-meter run. Jackson finished in 12th place with a time of 1:52.87.
In the men’s 4×800-meter relay, freshman Isaiah Jean-Baptiste, sophomore Brook Wilson, freshman Tom Long and graduate Sam Knipper finished in eighth place with a time of 7:48.08 to earn one point for Rider in the final day of competition. On that day, they were the only Rider relay team to earn points.
“The men raced well after racing later in the evening the night before,” Hamer said. “We are always looking to grab every point we can as a lesson that can be carried over to the championship meet where the meet can be decided by those last few points that you grab in an event.”
Jean-Baptiste thought he had a solid performance but admitted that the team did not really have a terrific meet collectively.
“Me, personally, I thought it was a really solid meet,” Jean-Baptiste said. “I think we all had good, solid days, but not really spectacular performances outside of Sara Gardner breaking her record. It was a good warm-up meet for us. Hopefully at the next meet, the Rider Invite, we’ll show up.”
On the final day of competition, freshman Ronetta Hunter placed sixth in the shot-put with a 12.84-meter toss, and sophomore Ashley Berry placed fifth in the discus throw.
Senior Megan McGarrity finished 14th in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:10.83.
The Broncs will return home for their next competition, the Rider Invite, a one-day event that will take place on April 8.
Last year, the men won the meet, while the women placed second.
Hamer said the team needs to keep working on its consistency en route to the MAAC Championships in May.
“We need to be more consistent in our performance,” Hamer said. “Each athlete is going to have a bad day once in a while, but we would like to limit the number of these off or bad days.”
Gardner said the lack of a long trip to the Rider Invite will be beneficial for the team as they can prepare better and will get to compete in front of the Rider community.
“I think it’s exciting for us to finally be on our home turf,” Gardner said. “It’s familiar territory for us and I think that will give us an advantage. We don’t have to take a long bus ride. We get to walk, like, two minutes and we’re on the track. I think that familiarity will really bring out the best for us.”