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Track and Field Continuing Momentum Gained in Winter

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Track and Field Continuing Momentum Gained in Winter

The Fordham outdoor track team will open up its season on March 16.

The Fordham outdoor track team will open up its season on March 16.

The Fordham outdoor track team will open up its season on March 16.

The Fordham outdoor track team will open up its season on March 16.


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By RYAN SCANLON

STAFF WRITER

The Fordham outdoor track team will open up its season on March 16.

The Fordham outdoor track team will open up its season on March 16.

After a season of long compression tights and shin splints, the Fordham men’s and women’s track and field teams are looking forward to an outdoor season of warm climate and all-around success. The hard-fought winter season showed great promise for both senior athletes looking to finish on a high note and underclassmen looking to build confidence for the coming years.

Last outdoor season we saw the men take fourth at the Atlantic-10 Championships anchored by their strong mid-distance group. This squad is considered to be extremely deep, having the talent to score in any event ranging from the 500m dash to the 1 mile run, including the 4x400m and 4x800m relays. Individuals featured in this “mid-d” category are seniors John Cosgrove and Mike Rossi. Cosgrove netted an eighth place finish in the 800m run at A-10s a year ago, it is clear he is aiming for a medal this time around. Both Cosgrove and Rossi are also staples on Fordham’s 4x800m relay team. Other names who are considered an asset to the mid distance group who are returning to compete in the spring are junior Ryan Polo, junior Brian Walter, sophomore transfer Lester Taylor and sophomore Danny Green, who all could be featured in the 800m run and 1500m run.

One name that will reappear after a long respite from racing is Kevin Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is a graduate student with one season left of eligibility, which he will put to use this spring. This New Orleans native is not only the common anchor on the 4x800m relay team but is also the defending A-10 champion in the 1500m run. After nine months removed from being able to suit up, “Fitz” is very confident about the upcoming races.

“I feel in better shape than ever, which makes coming back really exciting,” Fitzerald said.

Fitzgerald also notes the strong finish to the indoor season as an indicator of things to come, “Everyone came together (at IC4A/ECAC) and put forth some really impressive efforts and times …we ended on a really impressive note, one that bodes well for outdoor,” Fitzgerald said.

With that being said, Fitzgerald and the rest of the 4x800m relay team hope to qualify for the renown Penn Relays like they did a season ago.

In addition to the deluge of mid-distance runners, other individuals in the sprinting and field events will look to make a splash this spring. Senior Sean Atkinson will look to excel after a dominating winter season in the 500m dash. His specialty will most likely be the 400-m dash and 4x400m relay, as well as a possible insertion in the 4x800m relay. Junior high jumper David Fajoyomi continues to be a constant force on the mats, flirting with 7’ at many major meets, claiming his personal record to be 7’2”. His contributions to the team totals are always reliable. Lastly, junior Sam Houston has been the school’s premiere heptathlete/decathlete since his first year at Fordham. His strengths include his exceptional quickness in the running events and his explosion in the long and high jumps. Yet, he still possesses the strength to score well in the shot put and discus throws. His progression during his junior year will be fun to witness.

The women took a tenth place finish at the A-10 championships a season ago, but a lot has transpired since then. Losing seniors such as Kelly Connolly and Elisabeth Warren, who were tremendously valued for their work on the relay teams as well as middle distance leadership, is never easy. The emergence of certain individuals, however, has helped heal the loss and perhaps symbolize a changing of the regime. Junior Titi Fagade had a breakout indoor season, showing no signs of slowing down as well as her versatility, proving her worth in the 500m dash, 800m run and 4x800m relay. Fagade has established herself as a contender for a spot on the podium at any prestigious meet. The only uncertainty is whether she pursues the 400m dash (as she did last year spring and placed eighth) or the 800m run (as she did this past indoor season and placed second). The strong improvement of the sophomore class over the winter certainly stood out as something to watch out for in the coming months. Sophomores Melissa Higgins and Kristen Stuart were established intermediate hurdlers their freshman year; they have shifted gears a bit, however, and shown their prowess in the middle distance events, contributing to a very successful women’s 4x800m relay team in the indoor season. Other sophomores include Jillian Brooks, who contributed on the 4x800m relay and Mara Lieberman, who, in addition to the 4x800m relay, placed well throughout the winter in the 1 mile run. Senior Courtnay Newman is one of the few seniors left on the women’s side and will look to finish off her quality high jumping Fordham career on a good note this spring, always a contender to place and earn points come A-10 time.

The Rams’ first race of the new season will be the VCU Ram Invite be hosted by Atlantic-10 new comer VCU in Richmond, Va. on March 16.

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Track and Field Continuing Momentum Gained in Winter