By Nicole DeStefano
The women’s and men’s track team had several strong performances on Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28, at Lehigh University’s John Covert Classic and Villanova Open, respectively.
On the men’s side, the Lions youth took the spotlight. Freshman Jake Dinnerman finished third place in the mile run with a time of 4:28.12. Dinnerman’s performance secured him the fastest mile time of the season thus far for the Lions. In freshman Cole Parsons’s first mile of the season, he crossed the line in 4:38.49.
The freshmen duo Chris Coombs and Richard Gruters finished back to back in the 3000-meter race, clocking in with times of 9:20.48 and 9:23.34, respectively.
Senior Jake Lindacher had two solid performances on Friday. Lindacher placed seventh overall with a season best time of 8.21 in the 60-meter hurdles, and he placed first among Division II and III athletes in the race. Lindacher later returned with a third-place finish in the 60-meter dash, clocking in at 7.11.
Sophomores Thomas Livecchi and Noah Osterhus took first and second place, respectively, in the 400-meter race. Livecchi clocked in at 50.15, while Osterhus followed in at 50.19.
“I feel pretty good about my 400 this weekend,” Osterhus said. “It was my first one of this indoor season, and I’m still learning how to run it better. I really hope to improve in the 800 and the 4×400 in these next few weeks.”
In the field events, senior Chris Guglielmo achieved his season best as he cleared a height of 4.70 meters in the pole vault. Guglielmo placed second after tying for first based on the pole vault tie-breaker ruling.
“What stands out most to me is the team’s energy and how excited everyone gets to compete and support each other each week,” Lindacher said. “There is always room for improvement, so everyone needs to stay committed to improving each day. There’s no one thing I can pinpoint that needs substantial improvement.”
On the women’s side, freshman Katie LaCapria highlighted the 800-meter race with a first-place finish among Division II and III runners with a time of 2:16.23. Alesia Passaro also placed fourth in the 800, clocking in at 2:23.95.
Junior Jenna Ellenbacher and freshman Samantha Gorman put forth solid performances in both the 200- and 400-meter dashes. Ellenbacher placed fifth overall with a time of 26.55, while Gorman clocked in at 26.69 and placed eighth overall.
Ellenbacher and Gorman returned to the track for the 400-meter race and finished in second and fifth place, respectively. Ellenbacher clocked in at 59.08 and Gorman at 1:00.62.
“Nothing feels better than two personal bests in one day, and over the next few weeks, I need to keep starting my races strong and push myself knowing that better times will come as long as I believe in my own abilities,” Ellenbacher said.
There were also top performances for the distance runners. Sophomore Natalie Cooper placed third in the mile run, clocking in at 5:09.05. Not far behind were sophomore Erin Holzbaur and junior Allison Fournier, placing sixth and seventh. Holzbaur ran 5:17.96, while Fournier crossed the line in 5:24.51.
For the field events, senior pole vaulter Tracy Prentice came in fourth place, clearing a height of 3.20 meters. Freshman Kristen Hall placed third in the high jump with a clearance of the 1.55-meter mark. Junior Amanda Cucarese took fifth place in the long jump with a distance of 5.21 meters.
“I think the most impressive part of the team’s overall performance is the fact that everyone keeps improving on their previous marks from week to week,” Ellenbacher said. “From the freshmen all the way to the seniors, the team keeps getting better times, heights and distances, and earning (New Jersey Athletic Conference) honors.”
The Lions compete on Friday, Feb. 3, at the annual TCNJ/Rider dual meet at 7 p.m. The rival meet will be held at the Lavino Field House in Lawrenceville, N.J.