By Shanna O’Mara
The men’s and women’s track and field teams shattered several university records at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Virginia, on March 31-April 2. The men placed 18th of 44 teams and the women 27th at the meet hosted by the College of William and Mary.
“Overall, the men and women did really well,” sophomore David Gaynor said. “A few people really stepped up and did outstanding jobs. The sprint medley relay team breaking a 15-year-old record was among the most outstanding performances.”
Gaynor placed sixth in the discus with a distance of 130’3” on day three. The 1600m sprint medley team of sophomore Lexie Taylor, senior Nicole Georgia, senior Madeline Hummel and senior Stephanie Welte placed eighth in 4:09.32.
“We don’t do [this relay] very often, so it was exciting to get the chance to break a 15-year-old record,” Welte said. “We know as a relay we could have run faster, but breaking the record was still a nice accomplishment for us as a team. I felt pretty good during my leg. I was alone for most of it, but felt that I gave the best effort I could based on the race I was given.”
Sophomore Karoline Sandvig placed 13th in the championship division finals on day one of the hammer throw with a distance of 42.43m. Freshman Ashley Berry placed eighth in the university hammer event with a personal best of 40.54m, and freshman Heather Cullen was 12th (39.34m).
Senior Nasser Zayer placed 17th in the 3000m university race with a time of 9:00.98 and freshman Ryan Dritschel was seven seconds behind, earning 20th.
The men’s sprint medley team, of junior Devon Jefferson, sophomore Andrew Horberg, freshman Demetrious Fitzpatrick and freshman Dalin Hackley, placed 12th in 3:35.70.
The distance medley relay team — sophomore Anthony Ardino, freshman Alvin Abraham, junior Johnathan Jackson and senior Thomas McLaughlin — placed fourth in 10:10.07.
“I thought our distance medley team ran a good race,” McLaughlin said. “I think each leg would have liked to shave some time off, but I thought we displayed a good effort. I enjoy running in the relays because my teammates are not just some guys who happen to wear the same jersey, but they are my friends and I care about their performances.
“I know that, especially when I lead off the relay, that my teammates are counting on me, and I need to do all that I can and more in order to put those guys in the best position possible. I knew that if I put those guys in a good position, that they would give me the same amount of effort during their own legs, and that just makes the team more competitive.”
On day two, Jackson placed sixth overall in the 800m, third among college runners, with an IC4A qualifying time of 1:51.03.
Freshman Marcell Brown threw 47’2.75” in the shot put, earning the fifth-place spot. Freshman Avery Killiebrew placed sixth in the long jump with a distance of 21’6.75” and senior Olivia Rosenberger placed 12th with a distance of 16’7.25”.
The women’s 4x1500m relay team of senior Nicolette Mateescu, junior Megan McGarrity, sophomore Alexandra Santora and graduate student Katie Kinkead placed 12th in a Rider-record time of 19:39.85.
“I’ve always wanted to run a 4×1500 because it isn’t a very common relay,” McGarrity said. “The race was a little difficult because I had run the 5K the previous day, but it was still an honor to run in the Rider singlet. The other members of the relay did a great job reacting to the race, and it was so much fun getting to run with a great group of ladies.”
The women’s 4×200 relay team of freshman Destiny Kearney, freshman Morgyn Bennett, senior Miranda Roberts and freshman Angela Cotugno placed 15th in 1:45.47.
On the men’s side, Horberg, sophomore Christin Patrick and seniors Justin Veltri and Dameon Haynes placed 10th with a time of 1:31.25.
On day three, senior Daria Chadwick cleared 5’5” to win the high jump.
“Colonial Relays is always a competitive meet, so winning was not only a surprise but a huge confidence boost,” Chadwick said. “It means a lot, and I’m grateful to have experienced a high-pressure situation this early. It’s nice to have some momentum going forward into next week, and hopefully it’ll continue for the rest of the season.”
Although both teams competed at a high level and broke many records, both personal and for the school, McLaughlin feels there is always room for improvement.
“As a team, I think we all want to perform a bit better, but it’s how we will respond to our successes and failures that will define how we finish this season,” he said.