The Geneseo men's and women's indoor track and field teams spent Friday Feb. 10 at Boston University to compete in the Valentine's Invitational, one of the country's most important meets, and one that is stacked with Division I talent.
The Knights didn't disappoint.
"It's the biggest meet on the East Coast and it was a fabulous weekend for us," said assistant coach Mike Woods. "We go to Boston to get the best competition and we put ourselves further up on the national map."
For the men's team, the headlining performance came from senior Wenley Louis, whose 7.77-meter (25 feet, 9 inches) distance in the long jump is the best result in the country this year for Division III by a foot.
"That was a monumental jump," said Woods. "He bettered his own school record." Louis' jump is also the second longest jump in the history of Division III indoor track.
Other strong performances for Geneseo came from seniors Eddie Novara, Lee Berube and Chris Carter. In the 5,000 meter, Novara posted a time of 14 minutes, 27 seconds while Berube finished in 14:31, which are the 10th and 12th fastest in Division III this season, respectively. Carter's time of 1:53.07 in the 800 meter is good for seventh in the country.
Sophomore Patrick Wortner's time of 15:09 in the 5,000-meter run was his personal best by a margin of 22 seconds.
On the women's side, junior Marissa Liberati's time of 17:35 in the 5,000 meter was the 16th fastest in the country for Division III. Freshman Keira Wood finished the 800 meter in 2:15.79, good for 17th in the country and a new Geneseo record. Sophomore Allison Hoh finished strong in the 800 as well, almost a second later at 2:16.79.
"The top 15 times throughout the course of the season qualify for NCAAs, so this weekend alone we have several athletes pushing to qualify. It's very impressive," said Woods.
The distance medley relay team – junior Emily Sullivan in the mile, Wood in the 800 meter, senior Kelly Brunscheen in the 400 meter and Hoh in the 1,200 meter – posted the 10th fastest time in the country at 12:06.
Woods also commended senior Ashley Jones for her 18:21 time in the 5,000-meter. "That's a 22 second personal record for her, too," said Woods.
Coach Woods said he certainly felt the weekend is of vital importance to the success of the track program.
"We need to go against better schools to bring out our best performances," said Woods. "Not one of our school records in distance times is an event-winning time. It's because we're going against the best schools and pushing ourselves to be our best. That's how we roll." Woods continued, "Our top individuals can perform with the best and we know that. We have a strong program because we can compete with the Division I programs and that carries us to the top of Division III competition. We're thankful for the athletic department support to be able to do that," said Woods.
The Knights are back in action this weekend, Friday Feb. 17, at the Rochester Institute of Technology Tiger Invitational.