The men and women's indoor track and field teams traveled to the New York City Armory for the Eastern College Athletic Conference championships last weekend.
"We had a great championship, no doubt," said assistant coach Mike Woods. "We had … five individuals and one relay qualify for the NCAAs. Unfortunately … none made the [ECAC] meet, but we still have the men's [distance medley relay], Lee Berube in the [five-kilometer] and Mike McManus in the high jump going to the NCAAs."
At the Armory, the men took eighth place among 53 scoring teams with 35 points. Senior Ryan O'Connor highlighted the performances in what Woods called "one of the best races of the day." O'Connor placed first in the 5,000 over St. Lawrence senior Dan Ramsey by nearly one hundredth of a second. His time of 14 minutes, 35.73 seconds also beat Williams College alumnus Marzuki Stevens's record of 14:39.63 from the 1995 ECACs.
Senior Mark Streb placed seventh in the 1,000 with a time of 2:31.01, now the fastest school record; Woods said that the previous record was 16 years old. Junior Chris Carter placed seventh in the 800 in 1:54.89, beating former All-American Anthony Gallo '02. "That was a real, real strong plus," Woods said.
Sophomore Tom Clark and senior Lee Gabler placed fifth and eighth, respectively, in the mile run. Both finished in just over 4:14, "their best time ever" according to Woods. In the long jump, junior Nwana Okafor took first but did not qualify for nationals because he did not advance his distance.
The women's team placed 31st of 47 scoring teams with nine points. The distance medley relay of juniors Kelly Brunscheen and Alyssa Smith, sophomore Marissa Liberati, and freshman Mary Aldridge led the team with a fifth place finish. The relay provisionally qualified for the NCAAs and set a new school and SUNYAC record. "The DMR ran fantastic, our fastest time ever and a new SUNYAC record, but it wasn't fast enough to get in," Woods said. "They were 12th, but [the NCAAs] only took top ten."
Liberati also ran the mile, claiming ninth with a time of 5:05.09. At the ECACs, Liberati did not run her usual 3,000. "I have to give her props because you talk about being unselfish … she chose to anchor the relay so four girls could [potentially] go [to the NCAAs] instead of one. She passed up a sure thing to roll the dice," Woods said. "She might qualify in three events for outdoor, as long as she keeps training the way she has been … no doubt in my mind."
This weekend, select Knights travel to Capital University in Ohio to finish up the indoor season with the NCAA championships. "It's been one of the best overall seasons I can remember us having, performance wise," Woods said. "Yet to the untrained eye, it looks like we came up short because we lost SUNYACs by one and didn't win ECACs. We were hurt a little bit by illness and academic woes by our best athletes who couldn't compete, but with what we had, we did amazingly well."