The men and women's indoor track and field teams traveled to Hobart and William Smith Colleges last weekend for the SUNYAC championships.
Their trip produced mixed results. Both teams grabbed second, and the men finished only one point shy of winner Buffalo State College.
"There were things beyond our control. It was pretty frustrating … a bitter pill to swallow," said assistant coach Mike Woods. "I'm proud of both teams, very proud of how they competed and how they showed sportsmanship to Buffalo State."
The Knights took four first place titles including the Distance Medley Relay performance of senior Mark Streb, junior Ben Peterson, sophomore Ian Besso and freshman Nathaniel DeBoever. Besso had attended the meet expecting only to support his teammates, but after junior Colin Keenan pulled his hamstring, Besso was thrown into the event. The team placed first, setting a meet record time of 10 minutes, 30.46 seconds.
In the 5,000-meter run, junior Eddie Novara and senior Bobby Henchen took second and third with Eastern College Athletic Conference qualifying times of 15:14.68 and 15:19.65, respectively.
After the 5,000, Henchen, Novara, and senior Bill Juda returned to the track for the 3,000, participating in what Woods described as "the hardest double."
"They could've been selfish and said they only wanted to run one, but they didn't," Woods said. "It's not how they are." Geneseo produced the top five finishers in the 3,000 led by junior Lee Berube, who ran an ECAC qualifying time of 8:47.67. Novara also qualified for the ECACs.
In the field events, junior Nwana Okafor set a personal record and won the long jump with an NCAA provisional distance of 6.99 meters. Senior Mike McManus won the high jump with an ECAC qualifying height of 1.97 meters despite having been injured the week prior. "That's a feather in his cap because it shows how good he is," Woods said.
On the women's side, sophomore Marissa Liberati dominated the 3,000 and 5,000, placing first in both events. Liberati ran ECAC qualifying times of 10:10.78 and 18:08.38, respectively. Sophomore Cailin Kowalewski finished second in the 800 after poor health cut down her practice time in the week leading up to the meet. "Nothing rattles her … She gives 110 percent whether she's ill or not," Woods said. "She did amazingly well."
Junior Alyssa Smith captured the win in the mile for the third consecutive year. Now her focus will shift to qualifying for Nationals with the Distance Medley Relay. "[Smith's] the lead runner and I expect her to run as hard as she did for the mile," Woods said. "Alyssa is our leader. There are no ifs, ands, or buts."
The Knights participate in the ECAC championships this weekend at the famous New York City Armory. "It's a place that's steeped with indoor track lore. That's why we're all excited to get down there," Woods said. "ECACs are nice, but when you put it at a track like that, it adds stature to the meet. We're going to a place filled with tradition."