By George Tatoris
The track team sent six athletes down south to North Carolina to compete in the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday, March 13, to Saturday, March 14, the second largest group that Head Coach Justin Lindsey has seen in his time working for the College.
The women’s relay team finished seventh with a time of 3:53.29, a second faster than their seed time. The effort earned the team All-American honors.
For the relay team, comprised of seniors Joy Spriggs, Michelle Cascio and Katelyn Ary, junior Kristen Randolph and freshman Emily Mead as an alternate, this achievement is the apogee of an already exceptional indoor season. Randolph, who ran the third leg of the race, attributed the success to the focus and determination of the team.
“The four of us truly had our eyes on achieving this since the start of our training in the fall, which certainly kept us focused on the goal through the ups and downs of the season,” Randolph said.
She also mentioned the “strong connection” between the team’s members.
“Most of all we believed in ourselves and weren’t intimidated by the level of competition,” Randolph said.
And what a competition it was. Spriggs was cut off as she was handing the baton to Cascio during her leg of the race — the first — by a runner from Washington University, resulting in the disqualification of that school.
“I was very upset, but in the end, we became All-Americans,” Spriggs said.
Spriggs also finished 16th with a time of 60.84 seconds in the 400-meter event. Spriggs concedes that this was not her best time, but also knew it would be a tough race because she was coming off of an injury.
“I was honestly just happy that I made it into the 400,” Spriggs said.
Ary also ran in her own event, the 800-meters. She finished 13th with a time of 2:14.94. Ary may have been disappointed by her performance, stating that she did not do “as well as (she) hoped,” but she remained ecstatic over her team’s performance in the relay.
“Standing on that podium with the three of them was such a dream,” Ary said.
Junior Jake Lindacher, the only participant from the men’s team, finished 13th in his event, the 60-meter hurdles, with a time of 8.35 seconds.
Lindacher was also disappointed with his performance. The junior had earned All-American honors in his first outing at the NCAAs last year, having placed eighth in the 60-meter high hurdles with a time of 9.15 seconds, but failed to qualify this year.
Lindacher attributes his disappointing finish to a slow start and having been off-balance during the first two hurdles. He maintains that, with the amount his technique has improved over the past year, he should have done better.
“If I ran what I was capable of, I would’ve placed much higher,” Lindacher said.
Despite the lackluster finish to the indoor season, Lindacher was excited to start the outdoor season, which started on Friday, March 20, at the University of Miami’s Hurricane Invitational.
Senior Erik Moutenot and juniors Laron Day and Michael Larkin finished second, third and fifth, respectively, with times of 55:07 for Moutenot, 55.18 for Day and 55.75 for Larkin.
The long-distance runners fared well in the 1500-meter event, as well. Sophomore Brandon Mazzarella finished third with a time of 4:00.16, and junior Dale Johnson was right behind him at 4:01.39.
In the 400-meter race, Ary finished sixth at 57.06, and Spriggs finished in eighth at 58.57, surpassing even Division I runners.
On the field, sophomore Tracy Prentice landed fifth in the pole vault with a height of 3.00 meters, and junior Courtney Paciuli finished eighth in the long jump with a distance of 4.79 meters.