Gutsy Lions keep up with Division I runners

By Nicole DeStefano
Staff Writer

The men’s and women’s track and field teams took their talent to Williamsburg, Va., for the Colonial Relays hosted by William and Mary College from Friday, March 31, to Saturday, April 1. The Lions competed against a field of dominant Division I competition.

Senior Jake Lindacher placed 14th overall in the 110-meter hurdles, sprinting to a 15.74 finish. He returned in the 100-meter dash, clocking in at 11.72.

Tedeschi finishes the 5000-meter in 14:56.61. (Courtesy of Sports Information Desk)

In the 400-meter hurdles, freshman Daniel Pflueger improved his seed time by nearly two and a half seconds, crossing the finish line in 58.17. Sophomore Daniel Brennan also lowered his time in the 1500-meter race to 4:02.88.

The duo of sophomore Matt Saponara and senior Andrew Tedeschi competed in the 5000-meter race. Saponara took 10 seconds off his time, clocking in at 14:48.85. Tedeschi also improved his seed time by more than 10 seconds, finishing in 14:56.61.

“I felt that my performance at the Colonial Relays was a good season opener,” Saponara said. “Unfortunately, we had to deal with a lot of last second changes in the schedule due to the tornado warning. It threw everyone off, but many of my teammates ended up making the best of the situation. Getting the chance to see them run so well prior to my race motivated me to deal with the changes and make the best of the opportunity. Considering that, I was content with the race, but I am still looking to improve as the season continues.”

During the relay races on Saturday, Lindacher, sophomore Nathan Osterhus, freshman Nick Aromando and senior Zakaria Rochdi placed 19th in the 4×100-meter relay with a time of 43.79.

In the 1600-meter relay, Lindacher, Osterhus, Aromando and sophomore Thomas Livecchi placed 17th overall with a time of 3:37.44.

Some of the Lions also competed at the Stockton Invitational on Saturday. Freshman Connor Holden finished fourth in the 400-meter hurdles, clocking in at 1:00.13. Meanwhile, freshman John Otters cleared 3.80 meters in the pole vault, securing a second-place finish.

Freshman Justin Brown placed fourth in both the long jump and triple jump.

The women also had a successful weekend. Freshman Kristen Hall placed 29th overall in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 15.86. In the 400-meter hurdles, junior Jenna Ellenbacher clocked in at 1:05.58 to finish in 24th place. Freshman Samantha Gorman also finished 24th in the 400-meter dash with a time of 59.31.

Sophomore Emma Bean ran a personal best time of 18:38.03 in the 5000-meter run.

“I was happy that I improved my time in the 5K,” Bean said. “I’ve been feeling really strong in workouts and it feels great knowing my training has paid off. My goal is to keep lowering my time in the 5K.”

In the Colonial Relays on Saturday, Gorman and the freshman trio of Christine Woods, Allison Zelinski and Katie LaCapria finished 21st in the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 4:01.94. Zelinski, Gorman and LaCapria teamed up with junior Danielle Celestin for the sprint medley where they placed 10th with a time of 4:10.50.

Members of the women’s team also competed at the Stockton Invitational. Freshman Angela Rambert placed third in the discuss with a throw of 32.10. Junior Tracy Prentice finished third in the pole vault with a height of 3.20 meters.

“We have a lot of good opportunities coming up this month,” Saponara said. “What I really want from these next races is to continue dropping time and get as close as possible to the national qualifying standard. As a team, our main goal is to maximize the amount of athletes we send to Nationals.

“Qualifying is not only self gratifying, but it motivates your event group and allows the team to build off of your success. My teammates and I have seen so many others achieve that high standard and we are all driven to become national caliber athletes.”

The Lions will compete next at the Sam Howell Invitational hosted by Princeton University on Friday, April 7, and at their Home Invitational on Saturday, April 8, at the Track and Field Complex.