Rider’s track and field team found itself lacking in numbers as the indoor season wound down.
As a result of limited numbers on the roster, the women’s team ended up in second place, while the men fell behind in fourth place at the MAAC Championships over the weekend.
“Our lack of bodies this season was a little bit of an obstacle to overcome,” sophomore Alicia Price said. “However, the team really pushed itself and made the best of the situation. Everyone stretched themselves to their limit to make sure that we performed well no matter how many people we had.”
For the women, junior Kelly Kajunski won the high jump while placing third in the triple jump and long jump, earning her the Most Outstanding Performer honor. Price took first in the weight throw and placed third in the shot put.
“I think our team placed very well this year at the MAACs,” Price said. “Considering the loss of a lot of key people from last year, I believe that we held our own and put everything we had out there.”
The long distance runners made a name for themselves during the championships as junior Kelly Wojciehowski claimed fourth in the 5,000-meter with a Rider record time of 18:21.86, and sophomore Lauren Lester took fourth in the mile with another Rider record of 5:12.36.
“Kelly and Lauren deserve serious highlights on the girls’ side of the meet,” said junior Matt Dahl. “They really ran great races, maybe the best I’ve ever seen them run.”
Also for the women, junior Tabatha Haskins placed second in the triple jump, third in the 55-meter hurdles, fifth in the long jump and seventh in the high jump. Senior Rebecca Clatch took second in the pole vault while senior Elizabeth Clatch placed third in the weight throw and seventh in the shot put. Freshman Elizabeth Spakony placed fourth in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump.
Freshman Shaylah Counts added to the women’s placing by taking fourth in the 55-meter and the 200-meter. Sophomore Jennifer Alksmant placed fourth in the weight throw and sixth in the shot put while junior Megan Crowe placed fifth in the 800-meter.
“The team was pretty strong in just about all of our events,” Price said. “We have great people that worked hard in many of the events and they really proved how talented they are and how much time and heart they put into the season and especially into the MAACs.”
The men’s team was unable to make it into first place, but sophomore Kevin Breen took second place in the pole vault while freshman John Clark placed third in the shot put and fourth in the weight throw.
Senior John Smith claimed fourth place in the 5,000-meter. Freshmen Christian Gonzalez and Peter Wandell placed fourth and fifth in the 800-meter.
“We go against some big time names on the collegiate level from Iona, so when looking at the distance runners as a whole I think we performed well for ourselves,” Dahl said.
Junior AJ Parillo placed fifth in the 400-meter, while freshman Brian Leggett took fifth in the pole vault. Meanwhile, sophomore Brandon Wolf placed fifth in the weight throw and sixth in the shot put.
“The team as a whole is way too limited to have gone into that meet,” Dahl said. “It’s one thing not having enough bodies, but bodies were non-existent in just about all sprints. We were proud of the way the distance runners handled themselves in the meet.”
The women’s medley relay, consisting of Lester, Crowe, freshman Chelsea Callan and sophomore Kelly Dissinger, took third with a time of 12:58.10. The medley relay of Counts, junior Ashley Maynard, sophomore Karlise Cureton and freshman Johanna Clarke, placed sixth in the 4 x 400 relay with a time of 4:18.33.
The men’s medley relay team of Gonzalez, Wandell, freshmen Mike Soroko and Smith placed third. The 4 x 400 relay, consisting of Parillo, freshman Kashif Thompson and Dahl, placed fourth with a time of 3:36.16.
With success from the relay teams in the MAAC Championships, the teams are looking forward to their future meets.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun going to the IC4A meet in March with two really quality relay teams,” Dahl said. “We qualified in both the distance medley relay and 4 x 800 meter relay. This is a really great group and it’ll be nice to see two solid teams take the line that day in Boston.”
Although the Championships are behind them, the Broncs’ season is far from over as the team will be sending players to New York University for a meet as well as the IC4As in March. The team realizes there is still another 10 full weeks of the track season left to compete, according to Dahl.
“While MAACs is the conference championship, for some of us there’s still two weeks to go,” Dahl said. “This meet was not the ‘be-all-end-all’ meet. We knew going in there would be great competition and Coach Hamer set us up to take the best advantage of it.”
Rider will continue its season at the New York Universty Fast Track Invitational today.
“We’ve been running hard since summer and fully intend to finish this year off on a good note in the spring,” Dahl said.