By Tom Terzulli
With only three meets remaining in the Winter season, the Fordham Track and Field team traveled to Fairfax, Virginia for the Atlantic 10 Championships. The men were led by three gold medal performances, catapulting them to a sixth place finish. The women’s team struggled to get out of the blocks, finishing in last at 13th
The two day event began for the men on Saturday with six Rams qualifying for Sunday’s final. Among them were junior Louis Santelli who won his 800m heat with a time of 1:54.71, along with freshman Michael Petersen who placed eighth in 1:56.53.
Fordham also qualified in the 5000m, 500m, 60m and the pole vault. Junior Thomas Slattery finished the 5000m in 14:57.64, good for fifth in the event. Sophomore Jared Benn put up a season best in the 500m, racing to a time of 1:05.77 with an eight hplace finish. Fellow sophomore Richard Webber also placed eighth in the 60m, crossing the line in 7.08. Finally, junior Ryan Riviere cleared a season best 14’ 3 ¼” to put himself in a tie for seventh in the event.
The pair of Webber and Benn just missed out on qualifying in the 200m as well. They finished ninth (22.39) and 10th (22.43), respectively.
Some events on day two were exclusive to that day and others were the finals of heats contested on day one.
Beggining with the Rams that had to qualify on day one, Petersen and Santelli both scored in the final of the 800m, finishing second and third with times of 1:53.40 and 1:53.41, respectively. Benn topped his season best from the day before in the 500m final, placing fourth in 1:04.66. Webber was eighth best in the 60m dash, with a time of 7.05.
All of the other events on day two did not have qualifying events take place on day one. Three of those events being gold medal winners for the Rams. Junior Brian Cook set an Atlantic 10 championship record in the mile run. The Pearl River, N.Y. native won gold with a time of 4:09.11.
Garden City, N.Y. Junior Thomas Slattery captured 3000m gold, crossing the line in 8:27.82. And the relay team of Cook, Heinrich, Peterson and Santelli took the top spot in the 4X400 meter relay with a time of 7:38.91.
Santelli was one of three Rams to score in two different events. “The atmosphere at A-10’s for the team was electric compared to years of recent past,” he said.“We had one of the highest scoring performances since I’ve been a part of this team. On Sunday Brain Cook started off the meet with a win in the mile and the whole team followed suit performance wise.”
Rounding out the Sunday finishers was Kutch finishing eighth in the 3000m with a season best 8:34.04. He was joined in the top 20 by O’Brien in the mile (15th-4:23.45), Duckworth in the 3000m (20th – 9:01.98), freshman Andrew Byrne in the high jump (10th-6’ ½”) and Riviere in the heptathlon (11th-3,381 points).
Success did not come nearly as easily for the women’s team.
They failed to secure any gold medals and finished dead last in the team standings, scoring only 16 points. However, that does not mean there were not any solid performances.
Namely, three Rams qualified for finals on day one. Junior Merissa Wright, who won her heat in the 800m with a personal best time of 2:12.56. Sophomore Mary Kate Kenny moved on to the finals in the 200m, finishing sixth and recording a time of 25.25. Freshman Sydney Snow qualified eighth in the 1000m when she crossed the line in 2:58.13.
Aside from the qualifiers, sophomore Nkeka Pinheiro stood out. She tied the school record in the 60m dash with a time of 7.82, good for 10th. And followed that with an 11th place finish behind Kenny in the 200m (7.85). Her sophomore teammate, Angelina Grebe, just missed qualifying as well. The native of Sarasota, Florida posted a time of 17:43.54 and a ninth place spot in the 5000m.
Day one’s final event featured the only relay team Fordham put forward on Saturday. The foursome of sophomores Kate McCormack, Leah Hickey, Aidan Moroz and senior Shanna Heaney crossed the line 10th with a time of 12:25.50 in the distance medley.
On day two, the three Ram qualifiers from day one all scored in their respective events. Wright was the day’s top finisher. She placed fourth in the 800m, clocking in at 2:13.63. Kenny grabbed fifth in the 200m when she finished in 25.21. Snow was sixth in the 1000m standings with her time of 2:59.02.
Three runners in the mile headlined the other individual competitors. Fisher’s personal best time of 5:08.44 was good for 12th. Senior Josephine Jacob-Dolan (5:23.91) and Elwood (5:31.32) secured 20th and 22nd, respectively.
Grebe joined the top 20 in 15th place for the 3000m with a season best time of 10:16.45, and Sophomore Abigal Taylor put up a season best of her own, placing 21st in 10:26.47.
In the lone field event of the day, Gavalas was 12th in the triple jump with a distance of 35’ 8.
Fordham’s final points derived from a pair of relays. In the 4X800, Snow, Heaney, Corthell and Wright dashed across the finish line in seventh in a time of 9:14.88. Pinherio, Kenny, Hickey and Moroz also placed seventh in the 4X400, crossing the final line in 3:55.74.
The Rams stay local in their next meet. Staten Island’s OBP Track and Field Complex plays host to the Last Chance Invitational on Saturday, February 5. Opening gun is set for 5P.M..