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Track and Field Bring Home Five Individual Titles, Third Place and Fourth Place at NEWMAC Championships

sports-featimageBilly Peterson
Staff Writer

On the nicest day of the season so far, Saturday, April 27, the Springfield men’s and women’s track teams played host to the NEWMAC Championships. With the sun beating down on the athletes, the Pride witnessed some great performances as a few athletes finished up their seasons, while others qualified for post-season championships.

“The weather was absolutely fantastic and the coaches were very pleased with the performances they saw. Everyone seemed to have a great meet,” said junior and hammer/discus thrower John Dayton.

The weather had to have felt nice to the team, which began its regular season all the way back on December 1.

Dayton had one of two victories for the men’s team on the day, winning the hammer throw with a toss of 177 feet. Senior Anthony Salvucci had the other victory for the Pride, winning the 5000 meters with a time of 14:56.95. These two victories, along with multiple second-place finishers, helped the Pride finish fourth out of six teams at the meet.

Despite the fourth-place finish, the meet was still a successful one for the team. “We had some very solid performances throughout the entire team,” Dayton said. “Most of the athletes either met, or came close to their personal bests, which is incredible.

“We also had a number of first- and second-place finishes which granted those individual athletes All-Conference honors.”

Among those athletes finishing first or second and receiving All-Conference honors were: Dayton, Salvucci, sophomore Ken Toal (100 meter dash), senior Zach Pietras (3000 meter steeplechase), the 4×400 relay team – comprised of seniors Alex Harrington, Kyle Vigneault, Nolan Manley, Sean Nunan and Steven Gilfeather, and sophomore Walker Smith – Brandon Hammerstrom (shot put), and freshman Peter Andrews (hammer throw).

For the 13th consecutive year, MIT took home first place and defended their NEWMAC title. On the day there were three NEWMAC records broken. Springfield finished with 91 points.

The women’s track team was able to garner third place on the day, only trailing Wheaton and MIT, the latter of which won their fifth consecutive NEWMAC women’s track and field championship.

In the women’s meet, six NEWMAC records were broken on the day, including one by Springfield junior Gabby Gaudreault. Gaudreault was victorious in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:13.05. The previous record was 2:16.26, set in 2008 by former Springfield runner Lacey Cartier.

“I thought that the meet went really well,” said senior Colleen Brague. “We had great competition and the weather was the best we’ve had all season, which I think definitely added to the whole atmosphere.”

Brague captured one of three wins on the day for the women’s team when she won the javelin with a toss of 123-feet-4-inches. The final first-place finish for the Pride was produced by sophomore Amanda Martin, who won the long jump with a jump of 18-feet-1½-inches.

Runners from Wheaton helped break three records on Saturday. MIT and Smith athletes each contributed to break one of the six NEWMAC records that were shattered during the meet. MIT won the meet with 228.5 points, a comfortable cushion over second-place Wheaton (153) and third-place Springfield (102.5).

“It was a great start to our championships these next two weeks,” Brague said.

For those track & field members who qualified for the post-season, next up are the New England Division III Championships taking place on May 3 and 4. Athletes can then potentially go on to compete in the All Division New England Championships, the ECAC Division III Championships, and the NCAA Division III Championships if they qualify.

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