By Nicole DeStefano
The men’s and women’s track and field teams started off on the right foot on Saturday, March 25, at their spring season opener, the Golden Rams Invitational at West Chester University.
The men put forth solid performances in the sprint events. Sophomores Thomas Livecchi and Nathan Osterhus dominated the 400-meter dash. Livecchi won the race with a top performance, clocking in at 50.10. Osterhus followed in fourth with a time of 50.62.
“After running the 400-meter this Saturday, I was very happy with my performance,” Livecchi said. “The team as a whole performed very well. Honestly, I can’t ask for much of a better start to the season because with track you have your ups and downs.
“But no matter what, you have to keep trying and you have to keep your head held high,” Livecchi added. “Overall, I think that my performance was great for the season opener, but there is always room to improve as the season progresses.”
Senior Jake Lindacher, who recently attended the NCAA Division III Championships, made his spring season debut in the 110-meter hurdles. Lindacher clocked in with a time 15.14 and took fifth place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.13. The men’s 4×400 meter relay team took third place out of 12 teams. Livecchi, Osterhus, freshman Andrew Nee and senior Zakaria Rochdi each contributed strong performances to finish with a time of 3:22.49.
Two Lions highlighted the 800-meter dash. Senior Brandon Mazzarella and sophomore Daniel Brennan came in third and fifth place, respectively. Mazzarella crossed the finish line in 1:57.90 and Brennan in 1:58.34.
“My performance in the 800-meter was a good solid effort,” Mazzarella said. “Coming into the meet, the plan was to get a good workout in and some speed work. The race did just that, so when it comes time to run the 1500-meter next week, I’ll be more prepared to go out fast because it still won’t be as fast as an 800-meter.”
Sophomore Brian Mitchell secured first place out of a field of 14 competitors in the 5000-meter run. He clocked in at 15:56.50. Senior Chris Guglielmo cleared a height of 4.45 meters and secured first place for the Lions.
The Lady Lions stood out in the sprint events. Freshmen Samantha Gorman and Katie LaCapria secured second and fourth place with times of 58.16 and 58.97 in the 400-meter dash, respectively. Gorman returned to the track with a 26.15 finish in the 200-meter dash.
The 400-meter hurdles were highlighted by both junior Jenna Ellenbacher and freshman Nicole Tampone. Ellenbacher placed third with a time of 1:06.35 and Tampone in fourth with a time of 1:07.41.
“It was my first time being able to compete the 400-meter hurdles in college due to injuries previous seasons, and I was happy to run my fastest season opener in the event yet,” Ellenbacher said. “My main goal is to start dropping time to a new (personal record) for the race as I get back into the rhythm of competing the hurdles.”
Two sophomores stepped up in the distance events. Emma Bean clocked in six seconds faster than her competition with a time of 18:58.98 in the 5000-meter run. Abigail Faith took second in the 1500-meter run, clocking in at 5:05.02.
The women’s 4×100 meter relay made its season debut with a second place finish. The team, composed of junior Danielle Celestin, freshman Allison Zelinski, junior Meagan McGourty and Gorman, sprinted to a 50.10 finish. Tampone, Gorman, sophomore Alesia Passaro and LaCapria took third in the 4×400 meter relay with a time of 4:05.61.
“Being that it was the first meet of the season, I think our 4×100 relay team performed really well,” Celestin said. “I love that we are showing strong chemistry already, especially since there are new relay team members that haven’t worked together before.”
The Lady Lions also shined in the field events. In the pole vault, senior Tracy Prentice cleared a height of 3.25 meters. Freshman Christine Woods and McGourty tied for fifth with 1.48 meter jump in the high jump. Freshman Angela Rambert placed seventh in discus with a throw of 30.55 meters. She ranked eighth in shot put with a 10.61-meter throw.
“Yesterday was very encouraging for the team as a whole,” Mazzarella said. “There were a ton of good performances, and our team is beginning to get more well rounded and we are starting to have some depth. I am especially proud of the freshmen for adjusting to the program so well and some of them are already running faster than they did in high school.”
The Lions will travel to Williamsburg, Va., on Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1, for the Colonial Relays at William and Mary College.