Indoor track and field head coach Eric Mobley quelled any doubts about his ability to continue the historic success of the College’s track program in his head-coaching debut this weekend.
The Lions walked away from their first meet of the year, Princeton’s New Year’s Invitational, with three new school records and five NCAA Division III provisional times.
“I’m definitely happy,” Mobley said. “It’s a good starting point.”
The men’s team alone had four provisional teams and three school records. Junior Kevin Jones took first in the long jump with a school-record setting and provisional qualifying distance of 7.2 meters. In the same event, junior Karim Cockrell finished sixth with a 6.98-meter long jump, which was also a provisional qualifying distance. Cockrell also took second place in the 60-meter dash in 7.01 seconds.
Junior Jeff Schwerdtman also set a school record and earned a provisional qualifying mark with his second place, 16.54-meter performance in the shot put.
The young and inexperienced also came through for the Lions in their first collegiate indoor track meet. Freshmen Marquis Mitchell and Sullivan Parker both had provisional qualifying performances in their respective events. Mitchell took fourth and set a school record in the triple jump with a distance of 14 meters. Parker won the 60-meter dash in 6.97 seconds, defeating teammate Cockrell by 0.04 seconds.
Freshman Wes Friedman also gave the Lions a quality performance eighth-place height of 1.88 meters in the high jump. Sophomore Paul Discepola was a sixth-place finisher in the hurdles in 8.64 seconds as well.
“(The underclassmen) are going to have to play a big part in the season because we have a lot of youth,” Mobley said. “But they welcome the challenge.”
Underclassmen also played a big role for the women this weekend. Sophomore Khristelle Manuyag had the fastest time in the 60-meter dash trials with 7.83 seconds, but was unable to compete in the finals due to injury. However, the time proved to be a provisional qualifying mark.
The Lions’ 4×400 relay team of sophomore Angela Tecco and freshmen Carolyn Gray, Jessica Bonelli and Sara Tomszuk took third in 4:03.7. Tecco also finished fifth in the 500-meter run with a personal-best time of 1:09.5.
In the pole vault, sophomore Elyse Mitchell finished sixth with 2.90 meters. Rookie Jenizah Melendez took eighth in the shot put with a distance of 11.52 meters. Junior Erika Huggler also performed well for the Lions with a fifth-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.40 seconds.
Mobley stressed the fact that although the underclassmen’s performance in the rest of the season is important, their youth is still an element that needs to be dealt with.
“Putting a lot of pressure on the freshman could backfire at the end of the season,” Mobley said. “You just have to make sure they’re having fun.”
After their first meet of the season, the Lions will not have another meet until Jan. 14 when they travel to the New York University Invitational. Until then, Mobley plans of focusing on the fundamentals with his athletes.
“We’re going to continue working on a good foundation to minimize injuries later in the season,” Mobley said.