Dominant weekend in Boston helps track prepare for SUNYAC Championship

The Geneseo men’s and women’s track teams had another successful showing this past weekend on Friday Feb. 9 and Saturday Feb. 10 at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational held at Boston University. 

Collectively, the team broke four school records to add to their impressive feats that have marked a strong season.  

The teams are looking forward to using this success to propel them through to the SUNYAC Championships in two weeks. 

“The team is set up really well for SUNYACs and everyone is feeling good about it,” head coach Chris Popovici said.  

The men’s side had a particularly exciting weekend, full of top-notch performances. In the men’s 400-meter dash, freshman sprinter Lukas D’Alfonso broke the school record with a 48.64 second race, besting the previous record by almost a full second. 

Junior mid-distance runner Gillan Faulkner broke the school record in the 1000-meter run and topped the Geneseo scoreboard with a three second lead. The men’s 4x400 team also had a record setting performance.  

Additionally, freshman sprinter Jenna Strickland broke a school record with a 26.12 200-meter dash. 

“It’s not very often that we have two freshmen break school records at one meet, so that was really exciting to be a part of,” Popovici said. 

For a team that is so large, it is commendable how many athletes become leaders. Not only do these athletes excel in their respective events, but they help to create a great atmosphere for the underclassmen. As the athletes develop over the course of their time in the program, they often lead by example and reflect on what they would’ve done differently. 

“Many of the upperclassmen see what they would’ve changed, whether that be offseason training or working to understand the value of each workout,” Popovici said. “And they’re eager to pass that on.” 

This advice is really useful in helping the underclassmen develop even more than their peers. 

“Everyone wants this team to succeed and represent the school and the program well,” Popovici said.

There are also some athletes who become leaders through their athletic excellence. They provide great examples for underclassmen who want to emulate their skills and develop just as much. This puts a heavy focus on the concept of improvement.

Additionally, the coaching staff’s experience contributes to the success of the program. All of the coaches are Geneseo track and field alumni, so they have a perspective that is often very helpful for the athletes, since it was not long ago that the coaches were athletes and students themselves. 

The track team can clearly see the work that their coaches put in and how invested they are in the individual athletes as well as the program as a whole. Popovici attributes the track and field program’s development to the coaches’ experiences because the coaches have all worked to change the practices that weren’t as effective when they were students. 

“I think that when athletes see how much the coaches care, that leads to a better response,” Popovici said.

With the SUNYAC Championship fast approaching, Geneseo will send some athletes to an invitational at SUNY Brockport on Saturday Feb. 17. Those athletes competing are mostly those who are looking to qualify, those who want to try and improve their seed and those who are trying to stay in the groove of competing. 

The majority of the team will be gearing up for the SUNYAC Championships on Feb. 23 and 24.