After a long winter break, the Fordham Track and Field team continues its campaign in the New Year. Fordham travelled to New Haven, Connecticut for the Yale Invitational on Jan. 10. One week later, Fordham competed in the NYC Gotham Cup at the Armory Track and Field Center. Fordham displayed some great performances from its top runners and garnished four total ECAC/IC4A Championship qualifying times to start 2015.
Fordham had a strong showing at the Yale Invitational, led by four event wins and three ECAC/IC4A qualifying times. Senior Lester Taylor, an IC4A qualifier, won the 500m event with a time of 1:04.87, just three-hundredths of a second ahead of Brown freshman Zachery Emrich. Junior Quincy O’Connor carried over his strong performances from the cross country season with a win in the 3000m event with a mark of 8:35.71.
Freshman Michael Campbell took home the win in the 1000m event, with sophomore Randall Turner following just three-tenths of a second behind him in third place. The distance medley team, consisting of seniors Jonathan Annelli, Daniel Green and Lester Taylor, as well as freshman Thomas Slattery, put up an IC4A qualifying time of 10:18.
The women’s squad was led by redshirt senior and team captain Titi Fagade, who won the 500m event with a time of 1:14.18. During the break, Fagade also broke her own time in the 400 meter dash. Both finishes were ECAC qualifying times. For her accomplishments, Fagade was named A-10 performer of the week.
Fellow captain Kristen Staurt took fourth in the 800m event with a time of 2:19.92. The women were also competitive in relay events, although the 4x800m team, Fordham’s top relay squad last year, did not compete.
The NYC Gotham Cup brought the Rams back to the Armory for the first time in the season. Runners performed well in a number of events, but failed to win any races against competitive team and club runners.
O’Connor was the best individual performer, as he placed fourth in the mile with a time of 4:16.62, a personal best. Slattery placed sixth in the 3000m run in 8:31.06, while fellow freshman Nik O’Brien and Annelli placed 16th and 17th with times of 8:39.42 and 8:41.12, respectively.
Fordham’s relay teams led the day for the Rams. The women’s 4×800 team was back in action and in top form, placing fourth overall with a time of 9:17.67, good for an ECAC qualification. The 4×800 team, consisting of seniors Stuart, Melissa Higgins, Mara Lieberman and junior Danielle Rowe, returns with an identical squad that placed fourth overall in the ECAC Championships last year with a time of 8:53 flat.
The women’s distance medley relay also placed eighth overall with a time of 13:04.54. The men’s 4×800 and distance medley relay teams took fifth overall with times of 7:59.83 and 10:28.79 respectively. Fagade and Stuart were again the leaders for the women’s squad in individual events. Fagade came in 12th in the 400m dash with a time of 56.62 and 20th in the 200m dash with a time of 25.59. Stuart placed 15th in the 500m run with a mark of 1:16.55.
So far, early signs show a team on par with the squad Fordham displayed last year. Still, with no team scoring in play yet, it will be hard to judge how Fordham will do in team competition. Without performers like David Fajoyomi or Anisa Arsenault, who were perennial leaders last year, the Rams will need to rely on big performances from a large freshman class. “We had a great cross country freshman class who had good seasons [in the fall],” Green said. “We expect them to be competitive on the track as well.” The team will compete again this Friday at the Armory in the Metro Team Challenge at 2 p.m.