Zodda sets new record, underclassmen impress

At the meet he described as “one of the biggest meets we attend,” senior Jeff Zodda burned the competition at the Fastrack Invitational on 168th Street in New York City last Friday.

Zodda broke yet another record, this time in the men’s 500-meter, and posted an impressive time with 1:04.36 en route to a first-place finish. Record breaking is becoming nearly a weekly occurrence for Zodda, who has shattered two in the past three weeks.

“This (record) was actually especially important,” Zodda said. “It was held by Joe Wroblewski, the track coach prior to my freshman year at my old high school (Notre Dame) and was a huge reason why ND track had such success. He passed away from cancer in Spring of 1998 and I think it would have meant a lot to him to see that it was broken by (an) alumnus.”

The men’s team continued its strong showing at the Fastrack Invitational, as sophomore Brian Kopnicki tallied a first-place finish in the unseeded section of the one-mile run in 4:13.63, qualifying for an NCAA provisional time.

On the whole, the men’s team ended up adding two Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) qualifying marks as well, one of which came from freshman Kyle Alpaugh. Alpaugh placed sixth in an unseeded 5,000-meter run in 15:19.27.

Freshman runner Chris Guerriero also put in a healthy contribution with his 15:31.76 finish in the men’s 500-meter. Guerriero’s performance placed him 13th overall in the race, but it was good enough to net him the other ECAC qualifying mark.

A major highlight of the race was the women’s performance in the 3,000-meter run, as it grabbed three ECAC performances. Freshman Julie Ullmeyer was the leader of the pack, as she led the way with a mark of 10:42.00, while sophomore Heather Garleb trailed behind Ullmeyer by four seconds with a time of 10:46.00. Junior Jenna Prendergast wasn’t far behind either, as she finished up the Lions’ strong showing with a time of 10:47.00.

The Lions nabbed one more ECAC qualifying mark and it stemmed from senior Kara Horner’s third-place finish in the unseeded section of the mile. Horner finished up with a solid time of 5:13.97.

The Lions’ next meet is a big one – the first day of the ECAC Championships at Ursinus College on March 3 to 4. They will compete against the ECAC’s best athletes.