Four Knights prepare for NCAA title run

Of nearly 100 Geneseo indoor track and field athletes, just four will compete at the NCAA Division III Championships hosted by Grinnell College (Iowa).

Seniors Lee Berube, Wenley Louis and Eddie Novara, along with junior Cailin Kowalewski will take a stab at All-American titles, which requires an eighth place or better finish. 

"Based on the [seeds], if we just do what we did to get there, we should finish with two All-Americans, but we're hoping to get four," head coach Dave Prevosti said. "Something that's unique is that this year we hope to have our first male national champion, either in that [5,000-meter] or in the long jump."

Berube and Novara will participate in the 5k, while Louis will take on the long jump and Kowalewski will run the 800-meter. 

Of all of the qualified athletes, "the big surprise was … Kowalewski," Prevosti said. 

"[Kowalewski] was a [2 minute, 18 seconds] runner at the beginning of the year and all she did [at ECACs] was run a 2:12. I can't begin to explain how remarkable that drop was. She didn't even realize it. She just ran the race and she saw it, and she was just as surprised like the rest of us."  

Prevosti continued, "You could make the case that [Kowalewski] was our third-best 800-meter runner going into that race and now she's the [eighth] best in the country."

In order to prepare for the National Championships, the four athletes are doing "submaximal work." 

"Whatever workout we do we do not want to feel negative effects the next day," Prevosti said. "We want to leave practice feeling invigorated … They've earned the right to try to work a peak in and hopefully feel good as we fly … to Des Moines." 

Other Geneseo indoor track members also performed well at ECACs on Friday March 2 but fell short of the NCAA standards. 

Junior Brigid Heenan placed second in the 3,000-meter run and set a new personal record. 

"The significance of that is [Heenan] did it on the second day of a 5k, 3k double. She did not have a good 5k the day before, but she just rebounded strong," Prevosti said. 

Junior Marissa Liberati also ran well in the 5,000-meter.

On the men's side, Prevosti commended senior Nwana Okafor for his solid long jump that was just 14 centimeters away from the NCAA standard.