Track Has Two Days of Individual Standouts at Valentine Invitational

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Fordham Track had shining performances from the likes of Kelly and Reardon. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Dylan Balsamo, Assistant Sports Editor

Valentine’s Day weekend is a very intimate one for each and every person, as we are all called upon by the holiday to spend cherished time with those we truly love.

For student-athletes, their love in life is their game, and that’s why Fordham Track & Field spent the weekend of Feb. 14 leaving it all on the field at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational at the BU Track & Tennis Center at Boston University.

The winter track season is heating up as it winds down, so the Rams had to deliver on the weekend. And they did, on both days.
The weekend’s proceedings began on Friday, where most of the Fordham competitors were from the women’s side.

The top star of the day for Fordham was junior Kathryn Kelly, who placed in the top ten in two separate events on Friday. In the 60 meter dash, Kelly finished in 7.76 seconds, good for fifth place, and in the long jump, her mark of 5‘3“ earned her a ninth place finish.

There were a few other impressive performances by the women of the Rams on Friday, namely from freshmen Alexandra Thomas and Radha Dooley. While Dooley came in a tie for 16th place in the long jump with a season-best mark of 5’3”, Thomas had a 14th place finish in the 3,000 meter run at 9:54.24, good enough to qualify her for the ECAC Championship.

While these three women were the ones who stood out for Fordham on Friday, there were a slew of other competitors who put up solid finishing numbers. In the 500 meter, the Rams were represented by sophomore Dominique Valentine, who had a time of 1:19.03 and came in 36th place. In the 1,000 meter, fellow sophomore Helen Connolly came in 71st overall with her time of 3:06.57. In the 200 meter dash, freshmen Kyla Hill and Ruby Avila both ran, with Hill finishing 65th at 25.54 and Avila coming in 230th at 27.26, just 1.72 seconds behind Hill.

Senior Gabrielle Schrieb came in 143rd in the 400 meter dash at a time of 1:01.43. Meanwhile, sophomore Jilli Jones and freshman Mary Kathryn Underwood both competed in the 800 meter event, as Jones finished in 2:19.44 for 125th place, and Underwood crossed the finish line at 2:29.97, good for 224th.

To finish out the day, four Rams competed individually in the mile run: senior Sydney Snow, freshman Taylor Mascetta, sophomore Bridget Alex and freshman Nicoleta Papavasilakis. Snow was the first Fordham runner to finish, as she came in 134th with a time of 5:10.15, and Mascetta was directly behind her with a time of 5:10.21 to come in 135th. Alex came in 140th with her finish at 5:11.56, and Papavasilakis finished at 5:29.49 to come in 227th.

The last day included one final event for the women, as the quartet of Snow, Valentine, Connolly and Alex came in 12th place in the distance medley relay.

Then for the rest of Saturday, it was the men’s turn.

The top performer of the day was junior jumper Nikolas Reardon, who in his two events, the high jump and the long jump, came in fourth (6’6 3/4”) and 12th (22’9”), respectively. The only other competitor in field events on the day for Fordham was senior Andrew Byrne, who did the pole vault and tied for 32nd at 12’9 1/2 ”.

Then it was on to the track events: freshmen Colin Flood and Nick Lundberg ran the 3,000 meter unseeded, coming in at 8:33.78 (6th) and 8:54.64 (83rd), respectively. Next came the 800 meter run, which included five Fordham competitors. The Rams’ top two finishers, sophomore Jeremiah LaDuca and junior Christopher Strzelinski, both put up IC4A Championship-qualifying lines, as they came in 41st (a season-best time of 1:53.07) and 46th (1:53.36), respectively. Also running in that race were sophomore Zalen Nelson (1:54.86-78th), freshman Erik Brown (1:55.72-105th) and junior Arthur Gooden Jr. (1:58.26-174th).

Along with an assortment of other events on the day in which Fordham finished around the middle of the pack, the final race of the day was the 2,000 meter run, which brought Fordham two more IC4A qualifiers. Graduate student Nicholas Raefski ran a time of 8:15.03, a career-best mark that put him in 68th place, while sophomore Brandon Hall came in at 8:27.41 to come in 130th.

It was not a bad weekend for the Rams.

Up next for both the men’s and women’s squads: the Armory College Last Chance Meet at New York’s Armory Track & Field Center, kicking off this coming Friday.

The Atlantic 10 Championship begins the following weekend. Last chance indeed.