After a shorter intersession than most students, the Geneseo men’s and women’s track and field teams returned in early January, more than a week before the rest of the student body. The team worked hard as they prepared for the spring semester in order to come back stronger than ever and to win the conference title.
“The expectation is that we are in the hunt to win,” head coach Chris Popovici said.
The men’s and women’s cross country teams both rank in the top three nationally, along with what can arguably be considered one of the best women’s triple jump crews in the country.
Several members will be key factors in leading the Knights to a conference title. Popovici said how important the presence of junior transfer from Hamilton College sprinter Amman Weaver has been to the team. Since arriving, he has become a known presence in sprints, most notably the 60-meter dash.
Another runner, freshman sprinter Lauryn Krupa, has been dominating her races, debuting with the second-best time on the team in the 60-meter dash. Popovici said that she also looks to help in jumps this semester.
Additionally, junior distance runner Isaac Garcia-Cassani aims to build on his success, as he has one of the fastest times and posted the third-fastest time nationally this season.
“We want to qualify as many people for nationals as possible,” Popovici said.
In their first two meets of 2017, both teams saw a plethora of individual achievements. The spring semester kicked off when both teams competed in the Utica Invitational on Jan. 14.
On the women’s side, senior jumper Alexa Wandy impressed all spectators with a 5.45-meter long jump. As for the men, sophomore hurdler Austin Cutler tied a school record with an 8.55 second time in the 60-meter hurdles, easily coasting to a win in that event.
The two teams also took part in the Houghton Highlander Invitational on Friday Jan. 20. Sophomore hurdler Erin MacDougall made her name known in the conference with a winning 60-meter hurdle time of 9.34. Senior mid-distance runner Mackenzie Ross also had a big day winning the 600-meter dash in just under a minute and 41 seconds, along with playing a big role in the 4x400 win for Geneseo.
The men also won their 4x400 relay, as freshman pole-vaulter Terry Taylor III placed second in the pole vault. His pole vault was good for 15-feet.
The first couple of meets to kick off the spring semester provided a very optimistic outlook for the rest of the season for the team. Popovici expects a successful season out of the men’s and women’s teams, barring any injuries.
“Our hope is to win the conference title, men and women, which we know will be a close battle for both sides. But if we stay healthy, we have a great shot,” Popovici said.