Track and field claims awards at MAACs

Junior Christian Gonzalez broke the Rider record in the mile with a time of 4:08.11. Gonzalez helped the men’s team finish second in the MAAC Championships while the women placed third.

By Victoria Lyons
The track and field team added to its list of accomplishments while the men took second out of five teams and the women finished third of six at the MAAC Championships.

Rider boosted its résumé with a number of honors. Head Coach Bob Hamer was named Men’s Coach of the Year, while freshman Daequan Kim was the Most Outstanding Performer, qualifying for the IC4As in all of his events.
The men gave a great effort, according to Hamer.
“The men performed at a very high level and they did everything that they could, but we fell a few points short of winning in the end,” he said.
Kim won the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.46 and the 200 meter, earning a time of 21.91. He, along with freshmen David Hightower, Jammar Lim and James Burroughs claimed first place in the 4 x 400 relay in 3:19.81.
“[Burroughs] is a special athlete that has a lot of room to grow and improve,” Hamer said.
Junior Christian Gonzalez won the mile in 4:08.11, which broke the Rider record of 4:09.11, while junior Michael Soroko won the 3,000 meter course in 8:19.12.
“Mike Soroko and Chris Gonzalez have had great seasons, and they were fortunate to beat some really good runners and win individual titles,” Hamer said.
Other winners for the men’s team included Hightower, who placed first in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 7.66, while Lim won the high jump with a distance of 1.94 meters.
The Distance Medley Relay (DMR), consisting of freshman Greg Wesh, sophomores Mike Bartoli and David South, and Gonzalez, finished second with a time of 10:18.49. Junior John Clark placed second in the weight throw with a distance of 17.57 meters.
More achievements on the men’s side included freshman Jorge Merino placing second in the shot put, attaining a Rider record of 15.87 meters, and junior Brian Leggett coming in third in the pole vault with a length of 4.20 meters.
For the Rider women it was more of a struggle, but senior Alicia Price managed to win the weight throw with a distance of 16.61 meters.
“She always has her best performance at the MAAC meet and we can always count on her to deliver,” Hamer said.
The 4 x 400 relay also placed first, earning a time of 3:58.77. The relay team consisted of freshmen Lauren Findley, Erin McMullin, Ashley Hunter, and junior Shaylah Counts.
“Shaylah Counts really stepped up on the women’s side,” Hamer said. “She has always had the ability and it really showed on Friday.”
Freshman Caitlin Vanek placed second in the triple jump with a length of 10.89 meters, while junior Chelsea Callan finished third in the 3,000 meter, earning a time of 10:24.49.
The women’s DMR placed fourth with a time of 12:44.61, which consisted of freshman Mia Riley, sophomores Kristen Perrine and Heather Giovagnoli and junior Johanna Clarke.
“We left some points on the table but that will happen in a championship setting,” Hamer said. “Sometimes you hit on everything and sometimes you do not.”
There were also Rider men and women who were named to the MAAC All-Academic team this past Friday.
For the men’s team it was senior Terrell Anderson, Bartoli, South, Clark, Leggett and Soroko. Callan, Giovagnoli, Perrine, senior Kelsey Kohler, junior Ashley O’Brien and sophomore Laura Staples made it for the women.
Next up, the men’s and women’s track and field team compete today in the NYU Fast Track Invite at the Armory in New York City.

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