By Gregory Leddy
The Lions put on a slew of strong performances this weekend at both the Colonial Relays at the College of William & Mary from Friday, April 6 to Saturday, April 7 and at the TCNJ Invitational from Friday, April 6 to Sunday, April 8.
The Colonial Relays saw a number of great performances on both the men’s and women’s sides.
On the men’s side, members of the middle distance squad competed in both the 800-meter and 1500-meter events, slingshotting off of a great indoor season that culminated at the All-Atlantic Region Track & Field Conference Championships in Ithaca, New York.
Junior Jack Wood competed in a loaded slate at the 800-meter event and placed eighth in his heat with a time of 1:56.97, good for 47th overall and his fastest career outdoor opening race.
In the 1500-meter event, senior Dale Johnson won his heat with a personal best time of 3:59.97, representing his first mark under the four-minute barrier. Junior Luke Prothero placed seventh in his heat, clocking in at 4:00.51.
Head coach Justin Lindsey was glad to see Johnson achieve a personal best time.
“Johnson has trained really well to do this,” Lindsey said. “He’s now healthy after being sick for so long, so it’s good to see his efforts pay off.”
The women had a spectacular weekend at the Colonial Relays, competing in events ranging from the 100-meter to the 5000-meter event.
In the 100-meter event, freshman Jada Grisson ran at a time of 12.56, the eighth fastest time in the region this season, and good for fourth in her heat. Senior Danielle Celestin was also fourth in her heat with a time of 12.78.
Sophomore Samantha Gorman led the charge in the 200-meter event with a time of 25.59, placing third in the region. She returned for the 400-meter event, running at 58.98 that placed her seventh in her heat and fourth in the region. Freshman teammate Dana DeLuca ran 1:00.77 for sixth place in her heat.
The College’s sole competitor in the 1500-meter event, junior Abigail Faith, ran a time of 5:00.94, earning 15th place in her heat.
In the 5000-meter event, junior Natalie Cooper ran a personal best of 17:50.20, placing fourth in both her heat and the regional rankings.
Junior Erin Holzbaur had a great showing in the 3000-meter steeplechase, placing sixth overall with a time of 10:54.36.
The men also put on notable performances at the TCNJ Invitational.
In the sprints, senior Nicholas Genoese placed second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.04, just behind junior Alex Kainer of Stevens Institute of Technology, who ran at 10.90. Genoese came back to lead the Lions in the 200-meter dash, running 22.80 for fourth. Following close behind were juniors Noah and Nathan Osterhus, running at 22.84 and 23.03 for fourth and eighth overall, respectively.
Lindsey attributes the men’s success at the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes to patience.
“With event like this, our team has to be patient,” Lindsey said. “We emphasize on slowing down mentally in order to succeed.”
Noah Osterhus also won the 400-meter dash in dominant fashion, running at 49.85 to gap the field by nearly a second, and recording the only sub-50 second performance of the day.
In the 800-meter, junior Daniel Lynch placed fourth overall with a time of 2:02.13. Freshman Robert Abrams led the Lions in the 3000-meter event, running at 8:48.30 for third place. Sophomore Andrew Dyer also ran in under nine minutes, placing sixth with a time of 8:57.70.
In the steeplechase, sophomore Mike Zurzolo ran at 10:13.39, narrowly missing second place in a sprint finish to freshman Wesley Cruz of The State University of New York at Delhi.
On the field, senior Andrew McNutt jumped at 6.40 meters in the long jump for third place. Sophomore Tim Reilly jumped 12.69 meters for fifth in the triple jump. Sophomore Stephen Huber placed sixth in the meet in the javelin throw, throwing for 51.83 meters.
The women also turned in some impressive performances at the meet across all events.
In the 100-meter dash, Grisson placed third with a time of 12.79, followed by fellow freshman Rachel Lanzalotti with a time of 13.09. Gorman recorded a time of 25.96 for second in the 200-meter final, good for third in the regional rankings.
At the 400-meter dash, senior Meagan McGourty placed sixth with a time of 1:02.78. In the 800-meter event, freshman Emily Hirsch ran a season best time of 2:23.39.
Sophomore Gabby DeVito took the win in the 3000-meter run with a time of 10:33.98, outlasting sophomore Jennifer Polo of Ramapo College over the last 200 meters of the race. Junior Emma Bean secured fourth with a time of 10:52.07.
In the 100-meter hurdles, sophomore Kaila Carter won decisively with a time of 14.96, placing seventh in the regional rankings. In the 400-meter hurdles, senior Jenna Ellenbacher took the win with a region-leading time of 1:04.07, besting the competition by over a second.
The team’s 4x100 relay team also took the win, running with a time of 50.9.
Sophomore Allison Zelinski won the long jump at 5.13 meters and junior Stephanie Wolfer threw 33.66 meters in the javelin throw for third.
Overall, the Lions had a strong showing on the team’s home turf. Lindsey said the meet had a spirited atmosphere because many team members helped organize the invitational.
“We ran (the invitational) ourselves,” Lindsey said. “The meet had more of a team atmosphere because everyone helped each other to organize everything. We actually finished earlier than scheduled. Overall, it was a great team bonding experience.”
The Lions will be back to compete at the Coach P Invitational from Friday, April 13 to Saturday, April 14, at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Several Lions will also run at the Chester Quarry Classic at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania on Saturday, April 14.