By Gabe Sturges
Competition is one of the most basic desires of mankind. We all strive to test ourselves, to confront our nagging doubts and ultimately overcome them. This weekend, the Union Track and Field teams were thrust into an athletic melee, facing numerous league, state and national conference powerhouses at the Hamilton College Invitational. Despite the weighty challenge, the Dutchmen and Dutchwomen posted numerous personal and program bests on the oval and in the field. As head coach Dave Riggi explained: “I’m just really happy as to how we performed today. I think we turned the corner towards the league and state meet and we all took positive steps. I am very excited for the upcoming competitions.”
Starting the day off for the men was sophomore Gabe Sturges, tallying a third place finish in the 5000 meters. In the short sprints, senior Phil Lambert and rookie Jarryd O’Connell claimed fourth and 12th respectively in the 55-meter hurdles. In the 55-meter dash, Lambert returned along with junior Ryan Owen and rookies Nolan Hoenicke, Dylan Schuck and Louis Aller, finishing 12th, 16th, 26th, 27th and 31st respectively. The majority of Union’s distance contingent toed the line for the mile, as sophomores Connor Gagliardi and Ethan Loew, senior Pat Petty and rookie Alex Paolicelli ran to 16th, 23rd, 24th and 25th respectively with Gagliardi and Petty recording personal bests. In the 400-meter dash, senior Davis Barber recorded a win as freshman Gabe Engvold placed 12th. Barber returned in the 200 to collect the win, alongside Lambert, junior Kyle Bucklin, Hoenicke, Schuck, O’Connell and fellow freshman Nick Andreade, finishing first, sixth, seventh, ninth, 22nd, 24th, and 26th, respectively. In the 3000, Petty returned to run a strong race, recording 21st and a personal best. In the 4 x 400 relay, the squad of Davis, Bucklin, Lambert and Owen placed second behind a very tough Utica team. In the field events, Hoenicke placed ninth in the pole vault, senior Danton Brewington placed 15th in the weight throw, while junior Max Balter, Bucklin, Engvold and Aller placed third, fourth and 16th and 22nd in the long jump respectively.
Starting the day for the women’s team was sophomore Beth Crowe, who recorded a fifth place finish in the 55-meter hurdles. In the 55-meter dash, junior Judy Horan ran to a 12th place finish on the day. In the mile run, the group of freshmen Cara Zimmerman and Keilah Creedon, along with junior Jess Sherrod and fellow freshman Callie Aldrich placed fourth, ninth, 13th and 15th respectively. In the 400-meters freshman Rachel Gecelter placed 13th on the day. Junior Kaleigh Moore had an impressive run in the 800, crossing the line in fifth. Sporting a huge personal best in Saturday’s contest was senior Michelle Richter who placed fifth in the 1000, smashing her previous best by four seconds. The 200-meters found senior Clarissa Odence, junior Judy Horan and Gecelter in 11th, 12th and 18th place respectively. In the women’s 3000, Zimmerman, Sherrod and Creedon placed third, sixth and seventh respectively, with Zimmerman sporting a seven-second personal best. In the 4 x 400 relay, the squad of Richter, Odence, Horan and Crowe recorded a second place finish.
In the field events, juniors Jess Singer and Horan placed third and tenth, respectively, as Singer impressively set a new school record in the process. The weight throw was the site of another program record, as junior Katie Camilleri placed third in the process. Camilleri returned in the shot put, placing eighth.
The Dutchmen and Dutchwomen return to action next Saturday as they use this week to prepare for the Liberty League Championships hosted by Hamilton College.