Outdoor Track travels to Virginia, faces top Division I competitors

Select members of the men and women's track and field teams traveled over the weekend to William & Mary College in Williamsburg, Va. to open the outdoor season. Though the cold and windy weather made running difficult, the athletes recorded impressive times. "The one frustrating thing is that you put in for a trip like that, you're praying for good weather and you're at the mercy of Mother Nature, but she wasn't smiling upon us," assistant coach Mike Woods said.

Sophomore Marissa Liberati highlighted the performances and ran her fastest 5,000-meter ever. With a time of 17 minutes, 11.15 seconds, Liberati provisionally qualified for the NCAA championships. Liberati's new record is the second fastest time for the 5,000 in the history of Geneseo's program. "We've had a lot of great runners in our program and she's taken her place," Woods said. Liberati's time is second to that of Melissa White '03.

In field events, senior Maria Barbaglia earned 13th in the hammer throw with a toss of 40.68 meters and 34th in the discus with a distance of 29.43.

On the men's side, senior Jon Brotsch was Woods' Most Valuable Performer. Brotsch was part of the 4-x-200 meter relay that placed ninth and the 1600 sprint medley relay that placed fourth. Both relay teams broke Geneseo records. "[Brotsch] had a great day. He did a lot of running on Saturday, especially, and he had good splits each time," Woods said.

Sophomore Tom Clark earned the remainder of the points for the Knights, placing 49th of 90 in the 1500. Clark's personal record time of 4:00.79 meets SUNYAC and Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships standards.

Although the men placed 30th of 36 and the women did not earn any points, Woods said that the tough competition made the meet beneficial for its participants. Geneseo was one of two Division III schools represented at the meet; the rest were Division I competitors. "That's the kind of meet that I want these athletes to go to … where we really get pushed," Woods said. "I hope that we go back there next year because it was a quality, quality meet."

Woods said that the track and field teams hope to reach two goals this season.

"Obviously we want to win SUNYACs. It's a tough goal, but we have a shot. We aren't the favorites in either [the men's or women's division], but we're close enough to the favorites to be considered," Woods said.

Another goal is to qualify as many athletes as possible into the NCAA championships. "I look at [the second] goal and I think that it's an equal [to winning the SUNYAC championships].  SUNYACs are goal ‘A' and NCAAs are goal ‘B.' One is a team goal and one is an individual goal. The season is very short, so we got to be ready."

The teams travel to the University of Rochester for a meet this weekend.