Winter Preview: The Old and New of Indoor Track

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Fordham Track mixes the old with the new before the upcoming season. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Dylan Balsamo, Assistant Sports Editor

We are still a good four-and-a-half months away from the NCAA Championships for Indoor Track during the week of Mar. 12 in Fayetteville, Ark But for the Fordham Rams on both the men’s and women’s sides, this has been a process long in the making.

Looking to build on a year of incredible success for the program, 2019–20 will see, both Fordham sides hope, similar achievements and the ultimate prize of national recognition in that week of March.

For the women, they find themselves in a situation that is odd but that any program would certainly envy: they somehow have the advantages of both fresh faces and experienced veterans on their side.

The upperclassmen have set forth for their younger teammates a habit of success that they hope to continue themselves in the indoor season come the turn of the calendar to December. Junior sprinter and jumper Kathryn Kelley was a standout for the Rams last season. After winning the 200 meter event at the Fordham Season Opener, she went to the ECAC Championships and won All-East honors, setting a school record time of 24.23 seconds in the 200 meter dash to earn herself a bronze metal. She garnered herself another bronze at the Atlantic 10 Championship, finishing in 24.74 seconds.

The highlight of her 2018–19, however, was her taking four of the top five places at the Metropolitan Championship, making her an unmitigated superstar in the college track world.

One of her teammates is senior mid-distance runner Sydney Snow, who also has had success in the indoor circuit. At those same Metropolitan Championships, Snow was part of the medley team that won the 4×800 relay, and on her own, she placed fifth in the 1,000 meter run with a time of 3:04.08.

And despite these two names and others who dominate a roster of tremendous depth, that roster of 36 female athletes also has room for almost a dozen freshmen, including a Bronx native in freshman sprinter Ruby Avila. For a squad with established talent, there is still plenty of room for fresh faces to make a name for themselves.

All of the same things can be said about the men’s club. It’s in with the new, but the old is not done just yet.

Take Nicholas Raefski, a grad student from High Bridge, N.J. who has brought a knack for distance running to the Rams in his time at Fordham (he was a student-athlete at Wake Forest before coming to the Bronx before the 2017–18 season). He had quite the Metropolitan Championship last winter himself, winning the 3,000 meter run with a final time of 8:35.82. At the Atlantic 10 Championship he ran in that race again, and while he did not win it, his fifth place finish with a time of 8:33.88 is nothing short of impressive.

His fellow senior, Ryan Kutch, is also coming off of an outstanding year, specifically due to his performance at the Atlantic 10 Championships. He was a dual-event champion, winning the 3,000 meter event in 8:26.17 and claiming the 5,000 meter for the second consecutive season, finishing that race with a time of 14:41.44. The incredible weekend earned him All-Atlantic 10 honors. He had success all indoor season, winning races at the Metropolitan Championship and the Brian Horowitz Invitational and even receiving All-East honors at the IC4A Championship.

The men of Fordham Rams track have had much success, and coming into this indoor season, they have 10 freshmen on their roster themselves, with all but two of them being from New York or New Jersey.

The Fordham men and women are in very similar positions entering the indoor track season of 2019–20, and that position is one any team would want to be in: a team that has both experience and youth. A rich recent past and a bright near future.

The Rams will compete together in eight tournaments before making the trip down to Arkansas in March. This Fordham program looks ready for the long run.