By George Tatoris
A College championship streak and a near-streak were ended in Mahwah this weekend as the men’s and women’s outdoor track teams both took second place in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships — a meet that the women’s team had won last year, and the men’s team had won for 17 consecutive years.
The women’s team amassed a total of 183 points while the men’s team garnered 158.50 points. Both lost to Rowan University.
The men’s team obtained 20 of the 158.50 in the steeplechase event. Junior Scott Savage and senior Jeremy Garrell led the pack, racing to a tandem finish in second and third with finishing times of 9:28.78 and 9:31.59.
Senior Patrick Waite and juniors Andrew DeMaria and Roberto Guiducci also scored, finishing sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively. The steeplechase is the only race to involve both barriers and water pits.
The steeplechase stems from an old Irish horse race in which participants would start at one town’s steeple and finish at the steeple of the next town. In between it was common to race through streams and over walls. Nowadays those streams and walls are replaced by barriers and water pits.
In the 10K, three Lions, junior Tyler Grimm, sophomore Andrew Tedeschi and freshman Conor McMahon finished second, third and sixth, respectively, garnering 16 points for the College. The trio clocked times of 32:47.45, 33:00.80 and 35:01.79.
Tedeschi took second in the 5,000-meter, as well, posting a time of 15:16.08.
The top sprinter among the Lions was junior Jake Lindacher, who took second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.10.
On the field, senior Juan Giglio finished second in the pole vault, registering a height of 4.20 meters and earning the College eight points.
The effort was strong but not strong enough to tack another win at the end of the outdoor track team’s 17-year NJAC streak.
The women’s team saw their best performance in the 400-meter dash — in that race seniors Katelyn Ary, Michelle Cascio and Joy Spriggs finished second, third and fourth, respectively, and earned the College 19 points in the process. Ary had a finishing time of 56.80, Cascio was a tenth of a second behind at 56.81 and Spriggs finished at 57.42.
“I thought everyone competed and gave their all,” Spriggs said.
Another trio roped in points in the steeplechase. Sophomore Laura Straub, senior Alyssa Silver and junior Kayla Glynn finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 11:54.96, 12:11.99 and 12:19.79.
In the 10,000 meter event, senior Jillian Manzo finished fourth with a time of 18:50.58.
On the field, senior Brigit Roemer and junior Courtney Paciulli won the College 13 of its 183 points in the long jump — Roemer was runner-up with a top distance of 5.19 meters while Paciulli was fourth at a distance of 5.10 meters.
These strong performances were not enough to retake the championship title the women’s team had won last year. They simply could not beat first place Rowan, who had a strong meet this weekend.
“We did everything we could and sometimes things just do not work out in your favor,” Spriggs said.