Geneseo hosts track & field invitational

Freshman multi-event athlete Alexa LaPierre represents the Geneseo Knights in the 100-meter hurdles at the Geneseo invitational. The home meet put Geneseo at an advantage as they had friends and family on campus to cheer them on. (Ash Dean/Photo Editor)

Geneseo put on an impressive performance on Sunday April 2 for their first home meet of the season for both the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams. 

“As a whole, we did very well at the meet,” head coach Chris Popovici said. “Eighteen colleges were in attendance and we thought it was a great way to start the season off against that large of a competitive field. To win an early invitational is not always the goal, but when athletes succeed in taking first, it’s a good indication to us that we’re heading in the right direction.” 

While the meet did not feature some of the upperclassmen from both squads due to the short gap in between indoor nationals and the beginning of the outdoor season, the day was a chance for the underclassmen to shine.

For the men, sophomore runner Lorenzo Mazzuca took first place in the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:47.71. Sophomore hurdler Austin Cutler also grabbed himself a 1st place personal best of 15.78 seconds in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, while right behind him in 3rd was freshman hurdler Jacob Converse with a time of 15.96 seconds. 

“That was a great race for both of our underclassmen hurdlers,” Popovici said. “For Converse, it was his first college hurdle race at that height against strong competition, and we thought it was a great way for him to debut at this level. For Cutler, he’s our school record holder from indoor. He handled eight hurdles well and almost fell on the ninth, but was still able to salvage a personal best, which is encouraging to see this early in the season because to us it means that he’s clicking on all cylinders.”

The women’s squad found even more success at the home meet, and took 1st in a total of eight separate events: the 4x100-meter relay, the 100-meter dash, 3000-meter steeplechase, the 100-meter hurdles, the 1500-meter run, the long jump, the 4x400-meter relay and the triple jump. 

Junior jumper Camille Wutz led the Knights at the meet with three 1st place finishes including a 5.6l-meter long jump, a 12.67 second 100-meter dash and as a member of the 4x100-meter relay team, alongside senior jumper Alexa Wandy, sophomore hurdler Erin MacDougall and freshman jumper Lauryn Krupa to finish with a 49.28.

Also of note is the 12.72-meter triple jump poster by Wandy that has already qualified her for nationals given it stands currently at number one in the nation, according to Popovici. The reigning NCAA Indoor Track & Field triple jump national champion will look to continue her dominance in the meet to come.

Despite the absence of several upperclassmen, Popovici remarked that it was a promising sign for the future of the program with a tremendous degree of young talent.

“When we look at those seniors that are doing so well and look at their path and progression, we have a lot of underclassmen that are already meeting and ahead of those types of marks,” Popovici said. “You never know who will suddenly jump to the next level.”