Both the men’s and women’s track teams achieved great success this past week, with much of it occurring at the Larry Ellis Invitational — a large meet hosted by Princeton University with plenty of schools on Wednesday, April 16, and Thursday, April 17, in which junior James O’Connor took part in a decathlon.
Decathlons, heptathlons and pentathlons belong to a section of track and field events called a multi, in which one athlete partakes in several events.
“Out of all of them, the decathlon is without a doubt the hardest,” O’Connor said. “I continue to do them because I love how they aren’t like any other event in track and field.”
Of the 10 events, O’Connor took first in the 1,500-meter run and second in the high jump.
At the Morovian College-hosted Greyhound Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa., a team of four Lions comprised of sophomore Jake Lindacher, senior Scott Lisa, freshman Zach Hubner and senior Michael Spekhardt triumphed in the 4×100 relay with a season-best time of 41.91 seconds.
“I led off the relay, and all I remember is handing the baton off to Lisa in the lead and watching that lead get bigger and bigger every step of the way,” Lindacher said. “That is one fun part about leading off: doing your part and then watching the team win.”
That time is also the 13th highest registered during this past weekend.
Hubner also took part in the 200-meter and 400-meter runs. He placed second in the 200-meters with a time of 22.29 seconds and placed third in the 400-meters with a time of 48.96.
On the women’s team, sophomore Marissa Lerit had an especially exciting win in the 5,000-meter event, beating Peggy Lai from Lehigh University by a mere 0.3 seconds with a time of 18:30.59.
“Marissa stayed tough during the entire 5k and worked her way up to the front from the beginning,” senior teammate Anginelle Alabanza said. “She definitely fought back when another runner tried to outkick her in the end and was strong enough to keep ahead of her through the finish line.”
Alabanza also saw success at the meet in the 3,000-meter steeplechase event, in which the current TCNJ Female Athlete of the Week won first place with a time of 11:22.19.
“Personally, this was my first time running the steeple race, and the steeple water pit and competition were perfect for it,” Alabanza said.
Also in the steeplechase was freshman Laura Straub, who finished fifth with a time of 11:54.34.
Many other Lions had their fair share of personal successes at the meet as well.
Sophomore Tyler Grimm won his first college event with a 33:10.72 finishing time in the 10,000-meter run.
Freshman Brandon Mazzarella ran the best he ever has this spring in the 1,500-meter run with a finishing time of 4:00.98, wtih the effort earning Mazzarella first place in the event.
The women’s team saw the same trend.
One example includes junior Megan Stack, who ran her fastest time this season in the 1,500-meter run, placing second with a time of 4:46.15.
Another is Katelyn Ary who got the 15th best time in the country registered this past weekend with a time of 1:03.63, earning her third place at the meet itself.
“The majority of the team made new personal records this weekend,” Alabanza said.
The Lions hope to qualify for nationals in the long run.
“The way coach Lindsey prepares us, both physically and mentally, is to compete at the highest level possible,” Lindacher said. “And for us, that is nationals.”