Last Saturday the Geneseo track teams continued their recent trend of shattering school records and set themselves up for a run at the SUNYAC championship, competing at a non-scoring meet at Kent State University in Ohio.
According to head coach Dave Prevosti, based on the efforts they gave last weekend, the Knights expect to bring home the conference championship.
If so, it will be Geneseo's first indoor track and field conference title since 2006. "I thought this meet was a great exclamation point on our regular season and a nice segue into a promising championship season," Prevosti said.
Prevosti also alluded to the increased overall quality of the team as a reason for the team's record-breaking success this season.
"It's been my charge since I've been here to bring the program up to the level of the distance runners," he said. "It's not enough to be good one year … you need to create a reputation. I think it's just a change in the perception."
Prevosti said, "Our sport is such that it's not enough to compete in the championships, you have to set up your team well." He also noted that this year for the first time, the SUNYAC competition would only be open to the top 16 athletes in each event.
In the past, all athletes who met the qualifying mark for their event were invited to compete in the conference championship. Prevosti said that this was an effort on the part of athletic directors to improve the quality of the meet.
On the men's side, senior Pat Gallagher turned in another top performance. Gallagher finished with a time of 49.60 seconds in the 400-meters, the best finish in the 400 in school history. It was also the fourth top-10 performance Gallagher has achieved this season. Prevosti had high praise for the men's team, stating, "I can easily say that the men's team is the best we've ever had."
Junior Ryan O'Connor was another Geneseo athlete that placed in the top 10 in his event. O'Connor finished in sixth place with a time of 8 minutes, 28.90 seconds in the three-kilometer race and sophomore Kevin Bronson finished ninth in the 800-meter race in a time of 1:56.47.
For the women's team, Prevosti pointed to the efforts of senior Kristin Shumway as the highlight of the meet. Shumway finished seventh in the triple jump, with a leap of 11.02 meters. According to Prevosti, only one other woman in the conference has jumped farther than that this season.
Shumway also finished 18th in the 400-meter race. Her time of 59.98 puts her at third place in Geneseo history. Freshman Jillian Weidman had another top performance, she finished fifth overall in the 800-meter race, crossing the finish line in 2:18.74.
The SUNYAC championship, in which Prevosti said he expects to take home the title, is this Saturday at Hobart College.