By Christopher Brooks
After a strong performance at the MAAC championships, select members of the men’s and women’s track and field teams look to continue their good fortune at the IC4A/ECAC Championships held in Boston from March 1-3.
This season the Broncs will bring 24 of their athletes to Boston, and Head Coach Bob Hamer could not be more pleased with the turnout.
“I am very happy with the number of qualifiers we have this year,” Hamer said. “We have the most individual qualifiers for the women’s team that we have ever had since I have been coach.”
Rider has 12 women qualifying this year, four of whom are freshmen: La’tazah Coleman, Dashana Ransome, Daria Chadwick and Madeline Hummel. All competed in sprints, hurdles and jumps this season. Though it is their first time competing in this event, Hamer does not have any doubts.
“We knew the freshman women all had the ability to qualify, but it can be a difficult transition from high school to college, and they are handling it very well,” Hamer said.
But not everyone competing is a stranger to the IC4A/ECAC Championships. Senior distance runner Greg Wesh has been to this event many times before and knows what to expect.
“It feels really good to qualify,” Wesh said. “I’ve been qualifying for IC4A in the 800-meter since freshman year, but this year I’ve broadened the scope of what I do and actually qualified in six events. This meet means a bit more because it is an opportunity for you to shine individually, but also bring a great deal of recognition and honor to your school and your team.”
The Broncs know it won’t be easy but are hopeful for positive results.
“It will be extremely difficult for any of our athletes to win their event,” Hamer said. “We have had only a handful of ECAC/IC4A champions in the history of the program, but we have several athletes who will have an opportunity to finish in the top eight and become All-East. Junior Steve Brown and seniors James Burroughs and David Hightower have been All-East in the past, and they are looking to improve upon their performances from last year.”
Though this is one of the most important events this season, the Broncs do not plan on training extensively prior to the meet. Burroughs, who is coming off of a shoulder injury obtained at the MAAC Championships, will be taking it a little slower before his trip to Boston.
“The preparations for the meets are a little different,” Burroughs said. “We do not do as much volume in workouts or lifting as we would normally do throughout the year because we are trying to rest our bodies. In the championship part of the season, we focus more on our technique and top-end speed so that we are in our best possible form.”
The Broncs prepare in hopes that they can perform to their optimal potential during this difficult weekend.
“Competition will definitely be stiffer this weekend,” Burroughs said. “You are bringing together people who are good at their events and trying to see who is the best of the best. Everyone doesn’t get a chance to come to this meet, so to come out and place at this is big.”