By George Tatoris
With around 300 meters left in the 800 meter event, sophomore Brandon Mazzarella was convinced he would win — but two Ramapo runners blazed past him.
“My arms and legs were just dead, and I had nothing left in them. It was a very strange sensation,” said Mazzarella, who wound up finishing fourth just behind a Stockton runner.
The NJAC were steeped in competition this year, according to Mazzarella. He pointed out how, last year, he won the 800 meters with a time of 1:56, but this year he barely came in fourth with his 1:55.
The stark competition this year resulted in a third-place finish for the men with a total of 141.5 points behind Ramapo and Rowan, ending the Lions’ 17-year reign over the NJAC. The women came in second out of nine with 174 points, just behind Rowan.
“Our team is obviously disappointed with the overall performance at the NJAC meet, but I believe this loss will motivate us to improve going into the last couple weeks of the indoor season,” senior Erik Moutenot said.
Despite the end of the streak, many Lions had great performances.
Junior Jake Lindacher set an NJAC record and reclaimed his conference championship title with his performance in the 60-meter high hurdles, clocking in at a swift 8.28 seconds.
In the pole vault, senior Juan Giglio became the second two-time conference champion, clearing the pole at a height of 4.65 meters.
The Lions also won the 4×800 relay, which saw sophomores Alex Cary and Ed Bohi, junior Roberto Guiducci and freshman Dale Johnson finishing with a combined time of 7:55.91.
Many Lions secured new personal records that day, as well.
“The girls’ team showed up and never stopped fighting,” senior Katelyn Ary said. “Even though we didn’t come out with the win, there were many incredible performances.”
Senior Michelle Cascio took first in both the 400 and the 200 meters with times of 58.53 seconds and 25.49 seconds, respectively, earning new personal bests for Cascio.
Cascio debated whether or not to run again after she tweaked her hamstring in the trial of the 60-meter dash — she eventually ran the 400 meters to see what would happen. Cascio was nervous because there was only one event in between the 400 meters and 200 meters.
“I’m happy I did it … I was able to get another win, and the points we needed,” Cascio said.
Three Lions in the mile also ran personal bests. Senior Megan Stack finished first with a time of 5:02.38. Freshman Allison Fournier and junior Kayla Glynn came home with their best times, as well.
“We were motivated to put in our best effort after watching how well our teammates had been performing in previous events,” Stack said.
Ary also finished first in her event, the 800 meters, with a time of 2:12.51.
In the triple jump, junior Courtney Paciulli leaped into first with a distance of 11.30 meters.
Coach Justin Lindsey said he hopes the third place finish acts as a “wake-up call” for the guys.
“We will regroup and reclaim the titles outdoors,” Lindsey said.