For the first time since 2011, the Rensselaer women’s track walked away with a first place Liberty League title on Saturday at St. Lawrence University’s Merrick-Pinkard Track and Field Complex after a day of competition against St. Lawrence University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Vassar College, Union College, and Bard College, whose women’s teams place second through sixth, respectively. The men also finished out the day as winners 98 points ahead of RIT.
The first event of the day was the men’s 10,000 meters at 11 am, where freshman Grant O’Connor debuted with a new league championship meet record in 31:21.80, finishing over 40 seconds ahead of the runner-up. His three teammates all finished under 33:30 behind him.
“Our goal for this race was to run under 31:30 and having the old meet record two seconds slower was a pleasant coincidence,” said O’Connor. “The last ten minutes were more difficult than I anticipated, but I am confident that I can run under 31 minutes this season in a competitive race.
“I feel that I have made steady progress since January and have remained very consistent with my training. With the end of the season fast approaching, I hope to show my fitness with successful races and carry the momentum into cross country this fall.”
The women’s 10,000, won by senior Shannon Trant in 35:48.19, took place afterwards. Lacking the competition to help push her pace, she finished four minutes ahead of runner-up freshman Meaghan Podlaski.
Continuing his 3,000-meter Steeplechase winning trend from last Saturday at the Upstate Classic, freshman Sean O’Connor defeated his opponents in the race with a winning time of 9:36.02, a new personal record. Junior Christopher Angelo, who also ran with O’Connor last Saturday, finished third in 9:56.11.
The duo of sophomore Jaime Lord and junior Maddie Dery placed first and second in the women’s 3000-meter Steeplechase. Lord crossed only four seconds shy of the meet record, but she later went on to place second in the women’s 5000 meters in 17:27.10, ahead of the championship record set in 2013.
Junior Ben Fazio captured two victories over the weekend to earn co-Track Performer of the Meet, conquering the 1500 meters in 3:53.81 and the 5000 meters in 14:55.71. He rendered the former 5000-meter record obsolete by over ten seconds and was a mere three seconds away from beating the 1500 meter meet record.
In the men’s 100-meter dash, junior Jan Bartos ran the top time of 11.18 seconds, and junior Sara Khedr placed runner up in the women’s 200 in 26.55 seconds.
Throwing the farthest in the women’s javelin was freshman Aurora Freedman with a mark of 33.84 meters. Right behind her, freshmen Mara Giga launched the javelin 33.24 meters. Junior Melinda Wilson also competed in the event.
“I have been working a lot on getting my form to be better,” said Freedman. “A major problem I’ve had with throwing is that I don’t use my lower body enough. There is still plenty of work to be done on my form, but overall it has improved.
“I am happy that I was able to contribute to the team in getting points to win the meet. Both the men’s and women’s teams gave it their all in the meet and we should be proud of our achievements.”
Senior Tyler Yeastedt achieved victory in the men’s javelin with his 57.43 meter throw. Yeastedt also won the hammer and discus throws and placed second in the shot put. Junior Joe Grella placed second in the javelin nearly eight meters behind Yeastedt, and junior Mike Pensanello placed third in the shot.
In the men’s high jump, junior Erik Trinkle leapt 1.85 meters to clear the high jump bar and earn second place for the event. Freshman Jillian Salkind also placed second in the high jump for the women, reaching 1.60 meters. Winner Marisa Turner of St. Lawrence broke her own meet record of 1.64 meters from last year by one centimeter.
Overall, the Engineer men accrued 271 points. The Engineer women earned 266, transcending St. Lawrence by 30 points, whose women’s team has won the title the past four years.
As the season draws to a close, the Engineers have four remaining meets scheduled for the season. They will host the Capital District Classic this Saturday at home at Harkness Track & Field beginning at 11 am.