Track and field runs to strong performance

By Cynthia Reyes

Despite the bad weather this past weekend, both the men’s and women’s track and field teams performed well at the Colonial Relays held in Williamsburg, Va. The men placed seventh overall, and the women finished 29th in the two-day competition with several runners qualifying for the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A).

On day one of the competition, seniors Michael Soroko and Christian Gonzalez both placed second overall. Soroko ran the 3,000-meter steeplechase for the first time in almost two years after returning from an injury, and Gonzalez, also recently injured, ran the 1,500-meter. Both their times qualified them for the IC4A’s.

“I was happy with my achievements this weekend,” said Soroko. “The goal was to go down there and compete at a high level, and I felt like myself and the team as a whole accomplished this.”

Sophomore David Hightower finished seventh in the 400-meter hurdles while sophomore James Burroughs placed eighth in the same race. They also both qualified for the 110 hurdles finals, coming in second and fourth, respectively. According to Head Coach Bob Hamer, the two are quickly on the rise.

“They are emerging together as sprint and hurdles leaders,” Hamer said. “Anytime I see a sprint hurdle I expect them to do great.”

Sophomore Sean Donohue also qualified for the IC4A’s when he came in 11th in the 1,000-meter.

Hightower ran in the 110-meter hurdles finals on day two of competition and placed second.

“I feel as if I performed fairly well, and this meet just placed me in a great position for meets to come,” Hightower said.

Hamer says he is very excited about Hightower’s immense progress thus far. Burroughs came in eighth for the 110-meter hurdles finals.

Also with a qualifying time for the IC4A’s was the Bronc 4×100-meter relay team of Hightower, Burroughs, sophomore Perry Asare and freshman Wilvenson Baptiste. The group finished fifth in the competition. The distance medley relay team of Gonzalez, Soroko, sophomore Dave Brown and freshman Matt Sampson finished fourth overall.

“I think the team did great as a whole,” Hightower said. “There were many great performances on the team, and I can’t wait to see what else we can do.”

The women’s team ran hard as well, with sophomore Mia Riley qualifying for the 100-meter final, finishing in seventh place on Friday and then tying for sixth on Saturday.

“She is just one of those kids that every time you put her in a situation she rides up to the top,” Hamer said.

Junior Kristen Perrine and senior Chelsea Callan both broke Rider records this weekend. Perrine, finishing 18th in the 800-meter, broke the old Rider record that was set in 1999 by less than a second. Callan snapped Rider history in the 5,000-meter by more than ten seconds.

“It was a huge deal for me personally, especially since it has been my goal since freshman year,” Perrine said. “I haven’t ran that time in an open race since high school.”

Another Rider record broken this weekend was by the 4×200-meter relay team of seniors Shaylah Counts, Jillian Rubbico, and sophomores Erin McMullin and Ashley Hunter. They finished seventh, breaking the Rider record that was set in 1997.

“It was great,” Hamer said. “They have worked really hard to get to where they are.”

Overall, Hamer says that he is pleased with how the weekend turned out.

“On the track, we competed very well,” he said. “We were very competitive in a number of events, and I was very pleased with the results.”

The Broncs will host five other schools at the Rider Invitational this weekend on Saturday. At last year’s invitational, the men placed first out of seven teams and the women placed second of nine.

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