Track performs exceptionally in opening meet

Senior sprinter Amman Weaver runs hard in his race at the Geneseo Invitational on Saturday March 31. The teams competed well in what was their first meet of the spring season.  (courtesy of Ben Gajewski)

The Geneseo men’s and women’s track and field teams enjoyed early success in the Geneseo Invitational held Saturday March 31, finishing with a performance that can be considered one of the best opening meets the team has ever had. 

A strong start to outdoor competition demonstrates what the rest of the season will hold. 

The success of the meet was made even sweeter with the home crowd cheering the team on, including parents, friends, professors and community members. All of the athletes appreciate having a home meet for various reasons, and it allows the campus to get involved in a college track meet.  

The college also hosted a 4x100 meter relay race for Geneseo organizations, and some participants included Geneseo First Response and the hockey team. The race occurred during the middle of the actual meet, mixing competition with some hilarity.

Geneseo will host a meet again in early May for the conference championships, which is also predicted to be successful and exciting for all involved. The SUNYAC meet may only include nine schools, but it will still be an intense atmosphere. 

“Having SUNYACs here will be great since we’re already got the loudest team, so we just get to be louder,” head coach Chris Popovici said. 

With over 1,000 athletes competing from 20 different colleges this weekend, the atmosphere was electric. This meet put Geneseo track and field at the forefront of the campus community, as the meet ran from 10 a.m. until the sun went down. 

“We had good results, somewhat, despite the weather. Some races benefitted from it and some were really hurt by it,” Popovici said.

The athletes were very successful, even with 30 mph winds that blew in their faces for half of the races.

“The distance runners did a good job getting good efforts out of the day on a day that was very hard to get good efforts out of,” assistant coach Ben Wach said. 

The sprinters were able to stay composed with the cold temperatures and capitalized on the winds when they were beneficial, according to Wach. 

“For our first meet out, compared to previous years, we had some really strong performances from the group,” Popovici said. “Overall, we were happy with the results.” 

Often times, the end of the indoor season can lead to a bit of a slower start to the outdoor season due to a slight loss of fitness from the athletes. Fortunately for the Knights, that was not apparent this year. 

Both teams were impressive and showed the same caliber this spring that they exhibited in the winter season.

“I think the team did the best I’ve ever seen at carrying their success from the winter through spring break into the outdoor season,” Wach said. 

In terms of performance, junior hurdler Erin MacDougall set the Geneseo program record in the 200-meter dash, besting an athlete who is considered to be one of the most talented runners in the program’s history. She narrowly missed breaking another Geneseo program record, falling short of the 100-meter hurdle record by .01 of a second. 

The team will travel to Hamilton College on Saturday April 7 for their next meet, pending optimal weather conditions.