Track anticipates home invitational

It was a monumental indoor season for both the Geneseo men’s and women’s track and field squads. A trip to nationals for both teams saw three individual national championships and two top 10 finishes overall at the national level.

“We did not expect to walk out with the number of accolades that we did,” head coach Chris Popovici said. “Statistically, it’s easy to argue that it was one of the most successful seasons in our program’s history. We’ve never had two national champions come out of the same season, but [this winter] we had three, which is more than impressive.” 

The men’s indoor track and field team tied for 10th overall nationally in a field of 100 teams for the 2016-17 indoor season with another SUNYAC championship under their belt. Junior distance runner Isaac Garcia-Cassani continues to achieve top honors as he claimed his first national championship in the men’s mile run with a time of 4:07.77. Named the Outstanding Male Track Athlete of the Meet, Garcia-Cassani also scooped up the SUNYAC Indoor Track & Field Men’s Track Athlete of the Year with his 1st place performance in the mile. 

Additionally, Garcia-Cassani also anchored a 2nd place distance medley relay team of sophomore runners Luke Holtzman, Zachary Hannahoe and Gillan Faulkner.

The women’s indoor track and field team also claimed a top 10 finish, placing No. 8 nationally after earning another SUNYAC championship. Senior jumper Alexa Wandy won a pair of national championships in the triple jump and long jump. Posting a meet record final jump of 41 feet, 5 3/4 inches and a career-best 19 feet, 6 1/4 inches mark in the long jump, besting the runner up by a mere inch. 

Wandy was honored as the Outstanding Field Athlete of the Meet as well as the SUNYAC Indoor Track & Field Women’s Field Athlete of the Year. 

In addition, senior distance Marissa Cossaro was also honored for an 8th place finish in the 3,000-meter with the SUNYAC Women’s Track Athlete of the Year recognition. 

Popovici was also honored with his first SUNYAC Coach of the Year award after leading the Knights to two conference championships and top 10 national finishes.

On the transition from the indoor season to outdoor, Popovici said that the teams’ messages do not change their goals.  

“We’ve done all these things right so far—we’ve won conference championships in both men’s and women’s cross country and indoor track, and we’re looking to come out on top for outdoor as well,” Popovici said. “I think some of [this year’s] meets we’re excited for is when we get to face Division I competition. Some of the top programs in the northeast put on strong meets and we will do the best we can.”

The Knights hit the track for the first time this outdoor season on home turf Saturday April 1. 

“It’s nice for the athletes,” Popovici said. “They don’t need to worry about traveling and get to bring and compete in front of their friends and peers who come out and support them. We enjoy it because we don’t always get to show off in front of our home crowd and have them cheer us on.” 

The Geneseo early season invite will have more than 12 teams attending—making it a large meet.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to host that and put on a big invitational spectacle,” Popovici said.