Track and field teams open season, place within top five at Washington and Jefferson College

In the first outdoor meet of the season at the Washington and Jefferson College Invitational on Saturday March 30, the Geneseo men’s and women’s track teams finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

After a sizable layoff between the indoor and outdoor seasons for many runners, head coach Dave Prevosti said he was unsure of what to expect from both teams in the first meet.

“[The coaches] refer to this meet as a rust buster,” Prevosti said. “It’s always a challenge just getting the runners back into action.”

Prevosti said that the team took advantage of the nice weather in the week beforehand, and put together a strong week of practice, which he said paid off with Saturday’s results.

The men’s team featured a first-place finish on Saturday in the 3,000-meter steeplechase by freshman Brendan Wortner. Wortner finished with a time of 10 minutes, 11.21 seconds. Teammate and second-place finisher senior Robert Harmon followed him closely with a time of 10:11.26.

“I felt like both [Wortner and I] turned in a strong performance to begin the season,” Harmon said. “There wasn’t a ton of competition in the steeplechase, but we both kept our focus, ran together and stayed consistent from barrier to barrier.”

Another top finisher for the Knights was sophomore Christian Igielinski who placed second in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 56.80, his personal best.

It was Igelinkski’s first time competing in that race since he ran it in the 2012 Outdoor SUNYAC championship.

“Saturday was more about seeing what I can do and since I performed well, it’s really got me pumped for the season,” he said.

Sophomore Benjamin Schwartz also placed second in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:58.76 seconds.

Leading the way for the women’s team was graduate student Alyssa Smith who won the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:23.53, Division III’s second fastest time in the event this season.

Another key performer for the women’s team was senior Cailin Kowalewski who won the 1,500-meter run with a time of 4:43.21.

After graduating a number of key seniors following the 2012 spring season, this year’s outdoor men’s and women’s track teams sport younger rosters.

Prevosti said he believes that is not an indication that the team will be weaker than in years past.

“There is always a younger runner next in line to pick up the slack when a senior graduates,” he said. “Running has always been a development process.”

The Knights travel to the University of Rochester on Saturday April 6 to continue their outdoor season.