Men's track team runs away with SUNYAC title

Last weekend the Geneseo men's track team took home their first indoor conference title since 2006, beating SUNY Cortland 157 to 59, while the women's team took second place to Buffalo State.

On the men's side, five individual event winners spurred the Knights' success. One of the winners was senior Pat Gallagher, who won the 400-meter race in 50.14 seconds. Gallagher pointed to the depth of the team as a big reason for their success.

"This is the deepest team we've ever had in terms of events," he said. "This year we had guys in just about everything and that was a big difference."

Gallagher continued, "I think it was my best race of the season. I beat the guy who beat me last week, so I was proud of it."

Sophomore Wenley Louis won the long jump and the triple jump to help lead the Knights. Both of his jumps were NCAA provisional distances of 7.17 meters and 14.34 meters, respectively. Louis, a transfer from Alfred State, was the junior college champion last year in both events.

Head coach Dave Prevosti called his team's performance, "relentless." He said, "In every event you could just see blue, Geneseo was making its mark." Prevosti also alluded to the team's success in events in which the team traditionally struggled.

Senior Tim Chichester provided the spark in the distance events as he won the 5,000-meter race in 15 minutes, 3.75 seconds, later placing fifth in the 3,000-meter race. He was part of a trio of Geneseo runners in the top four places for the race. Sophomore Lee Berube led the way with a second place finish in 8:31.41 and junior Ryan O'Connor came in fourth in 8:46.98. Berube was also fourth in the mile, crossing the finish line in 4:19.14.

In the throwing events, junior Eric Rickman won the shot put with a toss of 14.31 meters. He was followed by senior Ken Wickey, who came up with a third-place finish with a throw of 14.29 meters.

For the women's team, sophomore Alyssa Smith led the way as she defended her title as the best miler in the conference. Smith won in a time of 5:15.88 as she led a pack of Geneseo runners across the line. Smith said she was more than happy with her result, saying, "I was looking to podium, and at least get top three. We were close to winning and everything at that point was based on place."

Smith called the women's second-place finish "bittersweet," adding that despite not winning the title, a number of Geneseo athletes set personal records. Right behind her in second through fourth place for the mile were senior Sandra Goettelman, who crossed in 5:15.99, freshman Marissa Liberati and graduate student Maggie Morris. Liberati and Morris finished with times of 5:17.22 and 5:17.70, respectively.

Prevosti had plenty of praise for the women's side. "It's not like our women's team didn't perform, we scored 140 points this year, and last year only 120 points won the meet," he said. "It's just that the Buff State women did their job. Where they were strong we couldn't count on another team chipping away a second place or a third place."

In the jumping pits, senior standout Kristin Shumway took third in the triple jump with a leap of 11.1 meters. Shumway also placed second in the 400-meter race, finishing in 59.61. Prevosti called Shumway's 18-point performance "the most valuable performance in my opinion."

This weekend Geneseo competes at the Eastern Coast Athletic Conference championship. While his teams certainly could compete for the title, Prevosti said they have their sights on a bigger prize. "We would've won hands down … people qualifying for nationals put it on the line this past week and they need to heal up," he said.