Track collects titles at Nazareth College

 Sophomore distance runner Lorenzo Mazzuca leaps over the steeple chase as he looks for a first place finish. The Knights hope to earn more titles and break more records at their upcoming invitational at Bucknell University. (Ash Dean/Photo Editor)

Sophomore distance runner Lorenzo Mazzuca leaps over the steeple chase as he looks for a first place finish. The Knights hope to earn more titles and break more records at their upcoming invitational at Bucknell University. (Ash Dean/Photo Editor)

The Geneseo men’s and women’s track and field teams produced another successful weekend at the Nazareth ROC City Classic on Sunday April 9. Both squads took home a combined five first place finishes, while simultaneously clinching several program records.

“The team is feeling good,” head coach Christopher Popovici said. “We had a lot of season bests, lifetime bests and even program bests across many events. It gives the team a nice moral boast knowing that we’re heading in the right direction.”

The men’s team captured first place in the 5,000-meter steeple chase thanks to the effort of freshman distance runner Jack Tate, who had a time of 15:38.30. Freshman pole-vaulter Terry Taylor III also put up a tremendous performance, tying the program record in the pole vault with a 4.56-meter mark, despite his fourth place finish.

The women’s squad finished with four first place finishes, which included senior runner Mackenzie Ross in the 800-meter run, senior runner Ashley Peppriell in the 5,000-meter run, senior jumper and sprinter Alexa Wandy in the long jump and the 4x400-meter sprint relay team of Wandy, Ross, junior jumper Camille Wutz, and junior sprinter Lauren Bamford.

In addition, Wandy set a SUNYAC and program record with a 5.99-meter mark in the long jump. 

Also of note were sophomore pole-vaulter Laura Piazza, who set a program record in the pole vault with a 3.30-meter mark, as well as Wandy and Wutz; Wandy and Wutz set the second and third fastest 100-meter sprint times with a 12.39-second finish and a 12.40-second finish, respectively.

Despite the increasing success of the season, the entire team’s eyes are locked on the weekend ahead, where they will participate on Friday April 14 and Saturday April 15 in the Bucknell Bison Classic.

“This upcoming weekend brings us to Bucknell University,” Popovici said. “It is a larger and longer meet by design because certain events are better run in cooler conditions at night and some are better in the middle of the day when it’s nice and hot out. We’ve gone to this meet for over a decade now and Friday night traditionally yields many of our distance performances that make nationals for the season.”

While the Knights look to place as many athletes into nationals as possible, the meet also is a terrific opportunity for younger classmen to leave an impression.

“I’m excited for Bucknell,” sophomore hurdler Austin Cutler said. “The closest thing I’ve participated in for indoor was Boston and this is three times the size of that. It’s good to change who you compete against, especially those who are better than you because it often is how you get better results. It’s a great opportunity to be able to compete against other athletes of this scale because it has a tendency to make me want to contribute even more to our team.”

Many colleges and universities will attend the Bucknell meet—and many of them will be at the Division I and Division II level. 

“Because the sport is more individual based, you can have these kinds of matchups between divisions,” Popovici said. “It motivates a strong DIII team like ours to perform better, and because of this I believe we’re able to put more athletes in nationals every year than some of the other teams.”