By George Tatoris
Lions track had a strong showing at the Haverford College-hosted McElligot Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 30, with debut performances and top finishes in multiple events.
“I thought the results were strong,” head coach Justin Lindsey said. “We competed well and things look good going into the championship month.”
For senior Roberto Guiducci, who ran a personal best in the 5,000-meter, the meet was vindication after a long slump that began with a disappointing end to cross country last year, when the men underperformed and finished ninth out of 37 teams.
“The team had goals throughout the cross country season that were obtainable,” Guiducci said. “But by the end of the season, we fell short… It has been hard to recover.”
Guiducci took ninth in the 5,000-meter, crossing the finish at 15:40.22, and said he’s “looking forward to run faster in races to come.”
The 5,000-meter was a race of firsts for the Lions. On the women’s team, freshmen Natalie Cooper and Emma Bean debuted in the 5,000-meter with third and fourth place finishes, respectively — Cooper crossed the finish at 19:11.81 while Bean followed at 19:33.50.
Sophomore Sarina Sokoloff finished off the pack of three in fifth with her own personal best time of 19:39.05.
In the 4×400 relays, both the men and women had second-place finishes for the College.
The men lost to first-place finisher and New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) rival Rowan University by a mere sliver of a second, as the College’s final leg, senior Laron Day, crossed the finish for a combined time of 3:28.96. Freshmen Nathan Osterhus and Kamal Williams and senior Mike Larkin put Day in position for the finish.
“Everyone was there to compete, and all the hard work we have been putting in definitely showed during the relays,” sophomore Emily Mead said.
Mead, along with senior Joy Spriggs, freshman Alesia Passaro and senior Kristen Randolph, comprised the quartet that took second in the women’s 4×400. The women clocked in at 4:08.14, four seconds behind Rowan.
“We are all great friends, and you can definitely see that chemistry in the relay,” Mead said.
Both teams fared well in the 400-meter race, as well.
Spriggs sprang passed her competition for a 1:00.67 finish, beating out a runner from Rowan for first. Her time ranked 15th nationally. Not two seconds behind, Randolph took third with a time of 1:02.44. For the men, Larkin took sixth with a time of 53.05.
In jumping events, senior Courtney Paciulli toppled her competition in the triple jump and scored the longest jump in the NJAC this season with a length of 35’10.5”.
In the pole vault, junior Tracy Prentice, along with freshman Danielle Cozzarelli, soared the highest with heights of 10’2” and 9’2.25,” respectively.
On the men’s team, the Lions took second, third and fourth place in the pole vault. Junior Chris Guglielmo took third with a height of 13’11.25,” sophomore Nicholas Genoeso took fourth also at a height of 13’11.25” and freshman Sebastian Camacho rounded out the pack with a height of 12’5.5”.
The Lions will compete in a dual meet against local rival Rider University this Friday, Feb. 5.