By George Tatoris
There was only one other team to beat on the track on Saturday, Feb. 6.
Each year, the track team faces the College’s local rival, the Rider University Broncs, in Lawrenceville, N.J.
This year, the Lions held fast, securing impressive wins over their opponent, but were ultimately stampeded by the Division I Broncs. The men’s team lost, 106-60, and the women’s team, 100-64.
“Leaving without the win definitely made us realize that we are really going to have to put in work the next few weeks before conferences,” sophomore Emily Mead said.
Freshmen brothers Noah and Nathan Osterhus, senior Laron Day and freshman Kamal Williams lost the 4×400 meter relay by less than a second, clocking in at 3:23.94 behind Rider’s 3:23.01. They were “neck and neck,” according to Mead.
“My coaches and upperclassmen have been talking about how competitive this meet always is and I see why they said that,” Noah said.
Though they lost, they were fast enough to qualify for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships (ECAC).
“People were cheering like crazy and it’s awesome how much support we got for that relay,” Noah said. “It always helps when your teammates are cheering their heads off for you.”
Despite the loss, there were plenty of great performances.
In the women’s 4×400 relay, senior Joy Spriggs, Mead, freshman Kathleen Jaegar and senior Kristen Randolph won with a time of 4:03.22.
“Once we established a lead, we were determined to keep it,” Mead said.
In the women’s 3,000-meter, freshman Erin Holzbaur took first with an impressive time of 10:23.31, more than four seconds ahead of any Bronc runner.
Sophomore Danielle Celestin won the 200-meter dash with a brisk 27.09-second finish.
The women’s 800-meter was a neck-and-neck duel for first, with Jaegar taking the win from Rider by less than a fifth of a second. Jaegar finished with a time of 2:21.72 while Madeline Hummel from Rider finished a half a step behind at 2:21.84.
In the men’s 3,000-meter, a pack of Lions took four of the top five spots — junior Andrew Tedeschi finished first with a time of 8:50.05. Less than a second behind, senior Scott Savage took second with a time of 8:50.80 and rounding out the top three was freshman Jekabs Hayes who finished with a time of 8:51.58. Senior Tyler Grimm was the last of the four, finishing fifth with a time of 8:54.82.
The men outran Rider in the 4×800 relay as well. Sophomore Daniel Lynch, junior Chris Arnold, freshman Jack Wood and junior Brandon Mazzarella pulled together for a rapid 8:02.66 finish, above and beyond Rider’s 8:26.87.
Noah hit an ECAC qualifier in the 800-meter with a 1:55.64 finish, but the effort was only good enough for second place.
“I went out just like I wanted to, but I didn’t have enough in me to finish strong and get the win that time,” Noah said.
But these strong victories stand in stark contrast to the meet’s outcome. Head coach Justin Lindsey hopes the team comes away from the loss with a sobering reminder that “giving 150 percent does not always end in victory” and that they don’t back down in later meets.
“People give up just before the breakthrough comes,” Lindsey said.
And the Lions don’t plan on stopping until they do just that.