Lion athletes built for speed

The Lions proved their infallible talent at both the New Balance Collegiate Invitational and Princeton Open this past weekend, earning several qualifying marks for the Eastern Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC).

At the New Balance meet held at New York City’s track mecca, The Armory, it was sophomore Kyle Gilroy who led the Lions, placing fifth in the 60-meter hurdles with an ECAC qualifying time of 8.39 seconds. Gilroy not only came in fifth, but proved himself against top Division I runners from Texas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee. Gilroy was the only Division III runner in his heat.

“Qualifying to compete with some of the fastest kids in the nation is probably one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my track career,” Gilroy said. “I wasn’t used to running next to kids from Lousiana State University, Texas A&M or Syracuse, who are amazing athletes.”

Senior Martine McGrath represented the Lions at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, running the 5,000 meters in 17:25.96 and placing seventh.

The Lions continued to put athletes in place to compete at the ECACs during Saturday’s Princeton Open.

Freshman Robert Jiggetts qualified for the ECAC by placing third in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.10 seconds, and was followed by his teammate, senior Chris Medina, with a time of 7.12 seconds. Jiggetts also placed second in the 200 meters with a time of 22.96 seconds.

Lions junior Jianna Spadaccini also shined in two events. Spadaccini took first in the 400- meter dash with a qualifying time of 59.44 seconds, and she was on the winning 4×400 relay team along with sophomores Meryl Wimberley and Alexandra Tomaselli and junior Meghan Miller. The four ran a 4:09.77, qualifying them for the ECAC.

“We’ve been working hard to get to this point so it was nice to see some results,” Spadaccini said. “By doing well at Princeton we can keep up the momentum and hopefully keep running faster.”

The men’s 4×400 relay, of senior Rob McGowan, freshman Brandon Leftridge, senior Pasquale DiGioacchino and freshman Salvatore Colangelo, took home a silver medal with a time of 3:26:92.

Two Lions also went home with silver medals: Junior Priscilla Senyah ran the 60-meter high hurdles in 9.20, and freshman Katie Nestor ran the 800-meter in 2:22.99, qualifying them both for the ECAC.

The men were also successful in the 400-meter dash. Sophomore Jule Brooks claimed the bronze in 51.46 while teammates DiGioacchino (fifth, 1:07.65) and McGowan (1:08.38) posted ECAC-qualifying times for the men’s 400. Several distance runners posted qualifying times.

Junior Michelle Wallace finished the 3,000 meter in 10:35.04, and freshman Claire Johnson completed the 1,000-meter race in 3:02.07. Sophomore T.J. Bocchino led the men, clocking in at 4:21.01 in the mile, good for seventh.

Tim Blashford had a solid day, qualifying for the ECACs in the pole vault with a height of 4.35 meters, placing him in the top 10.

The Lions will be competing again this Friday and Saturday at the St. Valentine’s Day Invite and at the Rider-Lafyette Invitational.