Geneseo Open celebrates debut of new track complex

On Saturday, April 25, Geneseo hosted its first track meet since the 1998 SUNYAC Championship.

The Geneseo open meet was the official christening of the school's new $1.1 million track. The meet, while smaller than some of the competitions the track squads have competed in this year, was still considered an exciting event for all.

Marilyn Moore, Geneseo's athletic director, said that she was "thrilled that we had the ability to showcase our talent at home."

The event attracted dozens of recent alumni, including some who competed in the meet.

"I think it was long overdue that we had a track meet here," said head coach Dave Prevosti. "It was great to see all the alumni embrace it, living through those who have the opportunity today."

The team performed well on their home turf, winning nine events between the men and women's teams.

Senior Julie Thering and junior Kristin Shumway led the way for the women's squad as both athletes won one event and placed second in another. Thering won the shot put with a toss of 11.79 meters and was second in the hammer with 45.47 meters. Shumway won the 400-meter race in 59.24 seconds and finished second in the high jump with a height of 1.53 meters.

"It felt great," said Shumway, regarding the home meet. "It was so good to have a lot of fans out there."

Three other Lady Knights won their events also. Senior Larkin Kimmerer won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 12:21.95. Junior Sandra Gottelman won the 1,500 in 4:50.06, beating out Kendra Zaffuto of Roberts Wesleyan by .6 seconds, while freshman Alyssa Smith won the 800-meter in 2:19.66. Smith was closely followed by her teammate, junior Erin Marks, who crossed the finish line in 2:20.23.

The Knights posted two other runner-ups as freshman Kelly Brunscheen ran a 1:05.75 in the 400-meter hurdles and senior Laura Iafrati ran 18:32.70 in the 5,000-meter. The women's team also won the 4x800 relay race.

On the men's side, four Geneseo athletes won first place in their events and four athletes placed second. Senior Craig Harlacher won the 100-meter and a place in the record books, finishing with a time of 10.98 for a new school record. Harlacher was second in the 200-meter as well, with a school record performance of 21.96.

"Craig was outstanding, it was a testimony to the hard work he's done in four years here," said Prevosti. "Also, I think not having a track has held us back in some events that we did well in, we're known for being a distance group, and it's hard to train sprinters without a surface to run on."

The Knights also did well in several events that are typically not their strength. Junior Ryan Joyce won the triple jump, leaping 13.69 meters while sophomore Jon Brotsch won the 400-meter dash in 49.89.

Junior Andrew Sorrento won the javelin with a toss of 46.73 meters and was second in the hammer throw with 46.58 meters.

Senior Will Haskell and freshman Lee Berube were the final second place finishes in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 1,500-meter race, respectively. Haskell crossed the finish line in 9:56.96 while Berube finished in 4:03.86.

This weekend the Knights travel to Oneonta for the SUNYAC championship meet. Geneseo is expected to compete against Cortland for the top spots in the conference.