Berube, Knights take on Division I competition

The indoor track and field teams took on top competition last weekend, participating in the Boston University Terrier Invitational and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Coed Invitational.

"We're not intimidated by the Division I schools," assistant coach Mike Woods said. "We like running against those schools. In fact we enjoy D-I competition. In track and field, it's better to be against D-I schools because it brings out the best in us, just like this weekend."

On the men's side, all eight runners competing in the one-mile run qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference; no other team at the meet placed as many runners for that event. Junior Lee Berube finished seventh with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 4 minutes, 9.15 seconds. Berube also anchored the winning distance medley relay team of junior Kevin Bronson and seniors Mark Streb and Niko Brown to a SUNYAC record time and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 9:53.21. The relay team currently holds the fastest Division III time and the fourth fastest college time in the country.

"Lee believes – I hope he believes – that he can win the 5,000 [meter race] at the NCAAs," Woods said. "I think he's the second fastest guy in the country. I hope he believes that our [distance medley relay team] can win the national championship, as well. Those are two things that he has in his sights, and they're very reachable goals. I think Lee's the best and I think he can win it."

Other key performances came from junior Eddie Novara and sophomore Marissa Liberati in the 5,000. The two finished 20th and 19th in their races with NCAA provisional qualifying times of 14:42.30 and 17:22.37, respectively. Freshman Mary Aldridge and junior Kelly Brunscheen placed ninth and 16th in the 800, respectively. Aldridge and Brunscheen currently hold the two fastest times in the SUNYAC, according to Woods.

"We did extremely well. It's almost as successful as you can get," Woods said. "I think it shows the quality of the program that we are competing against Division I athletes. It says a lot about the ability of our athletes to go up against that competition."

While the runners were finishing at Boston on Saturday, the Knights took to the field events at MIT. Senior Mike McManus highlighted the performances by taking the win in the high jump with an NCAA provisional height of 2.05 meters.

Now about halfway through the regular indoor season, the track and field team hopes to accomplish even more. "I think both teams could win SUNYACs," Woods said. "I would like to see the teams put it together and win SUNYACs." Woods stressed that a victory over rival SUNY Cortland would be critical to meeting this goal.

The Knights continue their season at Hamilton College this Saturday.