The track was roaring with cheering fans as the College’s track and field team hosted over 25 track programs for the New Jersey Invitational, their first home meet of the season.
“We want everyone to do well on our home turf,” sophomore sprinter and long jumper Erica Roberts said. “This is where you have the upper hand.”
Roberts took advantage of performing on her home sand pit as she jumped her way to the top of the long jump scoreboard with a distance of 5.43 meters, beating out an impressive 21 competitors.
“I try not to get inside my head when I jump,” Roberts said. “I take each individual jump as what it is and try not to get discouraged if I have a bad jump.”
Roberts also ran a strong 100-meter dash alongside teammate senior Kim Shelus, who took sixth in the event.
“I love running with Kim in my heat,” Roberts laughed. “It makes me want to run faster because I know her abilities. It’s great competition.”
Shelus was also part of the 4×400-meter relay team that not only finished in first place, but also ran their best time, qualifying for the ECACs at 4:02.65. Shelus ran alongside sophomore Joy Spriggs, junior Emily Kulcyk and sophomore Katelyn Ary.
Both Ary and Kulcyk each had overwhelming success in their respective events, as Kulcyk won the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:03.97, while Ary ran a 58.44 in the open 400-meter, taking second.
The final first place finish came from freshman Kristen VanBenschoten in the shot put during her first home meet of her career here at the College.
“It was awesome,” VanBenschoten said after throwing a personal best distance of 11.48 meters to win the event. “The team is great, everyone’s so supportive and always cheering for everyone else.”
Another personal best came from sophomore Liz Johnson, who has continuously improved her 800-meter time, placing second with 2:21.06.
On the men’s side, the athletes struggled against very tough competition, but still managed to run honorable performances and a come out with a pair of ECAC qualifiers.
The sole first place win for the men belonged to junior Juan Giglio in the pole vault after he cleared 4.50 meters for the Lions.
“It’s great being at home,” senior Kyle Magliaro said. “We’ve seen a lot (of) personal bests today (and) the environment has really helped us out.”
ECAC qualifying times were posted by junior Michael Spekhardt in the 400-meter with a time of 49.98 and freshman Peter Okoh in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.94.
However, the 100-meter dash was dominated by the Lion’s assistant coach, Ashhad Agyapong who ran unattached, finishing with a time of 10.48.
As the Lions are running toward a successful season, come out and watch them sprint toward the finish line at their next home meet, the Lion’s Invitational on Friday, April 26.