By Nicole DeStefano
The men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted their annual Lion’s Invitational on Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30. The teams celebrated numerous personal best performances and recognized several graduating seniors at their final home meet.
The 1,500-meter race was highlighted by two underclassmen. Freshman Luke Prothero finished in second place with a personal best of 3:59.88, while sophomore Dale Johnson clocked in at 4:07.11 with a sixth-place finish.
The distance events included two third-place performances. Freshman Jack Wood achieved a personal best of 1:54.78 in the 800-meter race. In the 5,000-meter race, freshman Brian Mitchell finished with a best of 15:41.16.
Senior duo Laron Day and Mike Larkin once again contributed top-10 performances in the 400-meter hurdles. At their last home meet, Day placed seventh with a season-best time of 54.45. Larkin followed in seventh at 55.29, a personal best.
The sprints were dominated by freshmen Kamal Williams and Nathan Osterhus. In the 400-meter race, Williams finished in ninth place with an individual best time of 49.57. Williams achieved another personal best time of 22.94 in the 200-meter dash. Osterhus also put forth a personal best time of 22.67, alongside junior Zach Hubner, who finished at 22.85.
On the field, sophomore Andrew McNutt jumped to fifth place with a distance of 13.78 in the long jump. Junior Chris Guglielmo took seventh in the pole vault at 4.40 meters.
“I was happy with my performance this week,” McNutt said. “Over the past couple of weeks, I have been consistently jumping well and with the NJACs (New Jersey Athletic Conference) coming up next week, I am excited to see what I will jump.”
For the men, this was the last home meet for seniors Day, Larkin, Tyler Grimm, Roberto Guiducci, Jake Lindacher, Scott Savage and Jonathan Stouber.
“It will be sad to see the seniors graduate this year,” McNutt said. “I have formed a great bond with them… They have taught me many things in and outside of track. Although it won’t be the same next year without the seniors, I look forward to meeting the upcoming freshmen and forming friendships with them.”
On the women’s side, senior Marissa Lerit overcame all of the other Division III opponents in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:07.24. Sophomore Sarina Sokoloff and freshman Alyssa Kramer followed in 11th and 12th places, with times of 19:49.99 and 19:58.84, respectively.
The Lions represented the College in the 1,500-meter run, with junior Laura Straub running a personal best time of 4:57.49 for 18th place among 60 runners. Sophomore Allison Fournier and freshman Abigail Faith followed in 21st and 23rd, with times of 5:00.30 and 5:03.48, respectively. Senior Kayla Glynn ran her career-best time of 5:07.25 at her last home meet.
Senior Joy Spriggs placed fourth in the 400-meter race, clocking in at 58.32. In the 400-meter hurdles, senior Kristen Randolph boasted a sixth-place performance at 1:05.32.
“It was a great home meet,” Spriggs said. “Seeing alumni come back was a great addition to the meet and I am excited to see what the team does progressing forward. Everyone is doing amazing things. I love watching everyone compete.”
In the 100-meter dash, sophomore Danielle Celestin clocked in at 12.79 for a seventh-place finish. She returned to the track for a 12th-place finish in the 200-meter race, clocking in at 26.48.
On the field, senior Courtney Paciulli placed seventh in the triple jump with a distance of 10.80 meters. She returned with a 13th-place finish of 5.08 meters in the long jump. Sophomore Amanda Cucarese took eighth place with a distance of 5.19 meters in the long jump.
The javelin was highlighted by two freshman top-10 performances — Stephanie Wolfer threw a distance of 37.66 meters for sixth place and Erin McHugh grabbed 10th at 37.14 meters.
The Invitational was the last home meet for seniors Spriggs, Randolph, Glynn, Lerit, Paciulli, Allison Ruszczyk, Carly Martz and Julie Swift.
“Stay motivated, stay hungry… when you have those tough performances, take them as a learning lesson and do not get too hung up on them,” Paciulli said. “You’re here for a reason… pretty soon, you’re going to be like me and have minimal meets left.”