Track strives for another SUNYAC title

The Geneseo men’s and women’s track and field teams divided their athletes on Friday April 14 and Saturday April 15 to compete at the Bucknell Bison Classic in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania and the Brockport Invitational. 

Geneseo once again put up top-notch performances, grabbing a total of six 1st place finishes, three school records, two SUNYAC Program records and a large grouping of national qualifying times and results as they stand.

 The men’s squad found good marks at the Brockport Invitational, with six top-five finishes and junior runner Kyle Chesterman taking first place in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:05.68. 

At the Bucknell Bison Classic, a 4x800 relay squad of senior runner Nate Lo Parco, sophomore runner Gillan Faulkner, sophomore runner Ethan Bellante and junior runner Isaac Garcia-Cassani took 2nd place with a school record time of 7:40.43. Garcia-Cassani continued to put up strong numbers and took first place in the men’s 1500-meter with a time of 3:44.72—a SUNYAC program record and the best time to be put up this year in Division III.

Garcia-Cassani’s time garnered him an invite for the Olympic development mile at the Penn Relays on Thursday April 27. 

“It is a tremendous achievement to participate considering the event is invitation only and boasts a field of professional runners and some of the best athletes in Division I,” head coach Christopher Popovici said.

The women’s squad also found success at Bucknell, with a 4x800 relay team of senior runner Marissa Cossaro, sophomore runner Allison Fernandez, sophomore runner Elise Ramirez and senior runner Mackenzie Ross grabbing 1st place and a school record with a time of 9:09.56. 

The highlight for the women’s team, however, was a dominating performance at the Brockport Invitational, where the Knights took 10 top-five finishes. This included three 1st place results. Junior jumper and sprinter Camille Wutz took the 100-meter with a 12.24-second finish, senior jumper/sprinter Alexa Wandy ran a 57.84 in the 400-meter for first place and a school record and Wutz took another 1st place mark with a 6.13-meter in the long jump—a SUNYAC program record and the 5th all-time jump in Division III history.

“Right now, both the top marks in the women’s two horizontal jumps are held by us,” Popovici said. “Wutz holds the long jump after this weekend and Wandy continues to impress with the triple jump. With the pair joined by Garcia-Cassani in the 1500-meter, it’s a great time for the program and it feels pretty good to have three of the national leaders in DIII for their events with us. We’re pretty close in putting a few more athletes up there with them with some of the individual breakthroughs we’ve been having in practices.”

With the regular season halfway finished, the amount of meets to make national qualifications are dwindling. For many teams its crunch time, but the Knights have shown no signs of pressure considering a healthy number of athletes have already guaranteed their attendance, including Garcia-Cassani, Wutz, Wandy and Cossaro. 

“It takes a lot of stress off the athletes who’ve reached that mark,” Popovici said. “It allows them to zero in and focus for the meet that’s five to six weeks away. From the coaches prospective, it allows us to not worry each week about getting our athletes to hit these marks, and lets us focus on the little things that can help to improve their mark that we otherwise wouldn’t focus on.”