Injury and illness can’t slow Lions

Despite roughing it through injuries and illness, members of the men’s and women’s indoor track & field teams have still been able to find a way to step up and work their way back to success in their respective races.

After becoming ill with the flu at the start of the season, senior Dominic Tasco faced a serious setback to his training, but has continued to work through it.

Gallagher and Berti pace each other. (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

“These past two weeks have been a major confidence boost,” Tasco said. “I’m feeling very strong and ready to put together some fast times in championship season.”

Tasco secured second place in the 800-meter race with a time of 1:53.19, qualifying him for the ECACs. This took place at the Lafayette Rider Winter Games on Friday, Feb. 8 after a quick change in venues when their scheduled meet in Boston was cancelled.

“My races this weekend were a big step in the right direction,” Tasco said. “Running an indoor personal record before the championship season gives me a great deal of confidence for the upcoming meets on the schedule.”

Continued success for the Lions came during both the men’s and women’s 4×800-meter relay races. The women’s relay team, made up of freshman Kristen Randolph, sophomore Megan Stack, junior Anginelle Alabanza and sophomore Liz Johnson, crossed the finish line with a time of 9:40.43, finishing a full eight seconds ahead of the second place team.

The men’s 4×800-meter relay team, made up of seniors Michael Berti and Andy Gallagher, sophomore Erik Moutenot and Tasco, claimed second with a time of 7:58.10, just behind Division II Kutztown University.

“The goal of that race was to run an ECAC qualifier and a lot of the credit goes to my teammates,” Tasco said. “They did what they had to do to make my leg much easier. We have a talented group of guys that are looking to run fast times.”

For the jumpers, junior Erica Roberts continued to lead the women to success in the long jump with another ECAC qualifying jump of 5.40 meters, placing third, while freshman Courtney Paciulli also had an ECAC qualifying jump of 5.22 meters, placing fifth.

With no surprise, the high jump highlighted nationally ranked junior Brigit Roemer as the second place finisher with an ECAC qualifying jump of 1.60 meters.

“The season has been getting progressively better every meet,” Roemer said. “I am happy with where I am at this point and I can only get better from here.”

The meet seemed to be a night of exciting relays as the men’s 4×400-meter relay team made up of junior Michael Spekhardt, sophomore Alex Brown, freshman Laron Day and senior Steve D’Aiutolo had a second place finish with a time of 3:20.52.

The men’s team also had a strong showing in the mile with Berti taking fifth at a time of 4:21.38, alongside his teammate Gallagher, who took seventh with a time of 4:22.74.

Another injured athlete, senior Cathy Goncalves, has been working her way back to the track after suffering from severe plantar fasciitis after the cross country season.

“Although I am not in the best of shape just yet, my goal for the indoor season is to continue on getting stronger, to qualify for ECACs and to win the 3K at NJACs,” Goncalves said.

Goncalves has certainly been working her way back this season after placing third in the 3,000-meter race just last week at the dual meet against Rider. She is hoping this indoor season will be the foundation of her outdoor season in which she hopes to qualify for nationals in her races along with her teammates.

“Our team is fairly young but is continually growing,” Goncalves said. “We’ve been working on our team dynamic because we know that we can’t achieve our team goals, like winning the NJACs, without being close as a team.”

On the men’s side, the bond seems to be just as strong with the chemistry ever improving.

“We have a great team bond,” Tasco said. “It starts over winter break where we have a few team practices a week with some team bonding activities to bring us all together. Even off the track we are all friends, making it a really fun team to be a part of.”