Lions pick up four ECAC times, have high hopes for Nationals

“To come together as a team and to compete and compete well.” That’s the College track and field team’s mantra this season according to head coach Eric Mobley – and compete they did.

The College opened up its track and field season on a bitterly cold Saturday with an appearance at the Monmouth University Spring Invitational, which garnered a few very solid performances as well as five Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) qualifying marks.

The Lions had a pair of impressive showings as well as two ECAC qualifying tallies in the 5,000-meter run with junior Allyson Krayl leading the pack as she picked up fourth. Krayl, who ran the 5,000-meter for the first time on Saturday, finished with a personal best time of 18:31.71.

Mobley was extremely positive when talking about Krayl, saying “She’s been doing a great job all year. (She’s) continuing what she’s done from indoor (track and field). She just continues to go out there and compete very well.”

Trailing behind Krayl, senior Kara Horner held her own, placing eighth while qualifying for the ECAC with a time of 18:35.92.

This was also Horner’s first time racing in competition on the 5,000-meter track and, as such, was pleased that she qualified for the ECAC and placed eighth. Horner is shooting for a nationals qualifying time this season.

“I was satisfied with my race because it was my first time running it, but I definitely want to be able to compete at higher levels in later meets this season,” she said.

Krayl and Horner weren’t the only ones putting forth solid performances on Saturday though, as three Lion runners placed in the top 10 in the women’s 1,500. Freshman Martine McGrath even earned an ECAC-qualifying mark for her sixth place, 4:52.47 finish.

On the men’s front, freshmen runners Christopher Guerriero and Kyle Alpaugh both earned ECAC spots with their times during the men’s 5,000-meter run. Alpaugh placed 10th in 15:20.95, while Guerriero took home eighth en route to a personal best of 15:13.34.

Mobley, visibly excited for the upcoming season, spoke about the year ahead with extreme optimism.

“We’ve got a whole lot of people that are looking to step up,” he said. He mentioned runners Angela Tecco, who “could definitely be a factor in the national finals of the 800-(meter),” and Jeff Zodda, who continues his quest for two national championships – indoor and outdoor – in one year.

Zodda finished in second last year in the final round of the 800-meter nationals and is looking to capitalize on the opportunity for a first-place finish this year.

The track and field team will have a busy weekend. They are scheduled to compete on April 1 at Maryland University for their second meet of the season. Then they will travel to Princeton University the following day for the Sam Howell Invitational.