On Saturday, April 20, the Springfield College women’s and men’s track and field teams raced to a first-place and second-place finish, respectively.
The Pride represented themselves well in the home meet held at Springfield College’s Blake Track. The women were able to edge out WPI for first place with a total of 159 points.
“Our team doesn’t have the numbers that WPI has, but we’ve got the heart,” senior runner Laurie Jenkins said. “We have athletes that double, triple or quadruple events, and score in each, no matter how tired they are.
“The good spirits that have carried the team this far and encouraged everyone to work as hard as they are working will continue to produce great performances.”
During the meet on Saturday, many women on the team either reached or came closer to reaching that goal of qualifying for postseason events.
“Many team members had season bests, personal bests and several qualified for postseason championships with a few closing in on qualifying for NCAA National Championships,” Springfield women’s track and field coach Jim Pennington said.
“In this meet we did not try to score a lot of points and we wound up scoring many points, finishing in first by a slight margin,” said Pennington, who is in his 29th year at the helm of the Springfield women’s track & field team. “Typically, coaches put individuals in fewer events for this meet because they are trying to get athletes qualified for future championships.”
Jenkins, a Physical Education major, scored two personal bests during the meet. With a time of 12.21 seconds, Jenkins recorded a personal best time in the 100 meters, winning the race ahead of teammate and senior Crystal Davis, who finished in second at 12.61 seconds. Jenkins and Davis are also part of the 4×100 relay team which recorded a personal best time of 48.88 seconds. The time was good enough for a win in the event. Sophomore Liz Saia, and freshman Darian Dailey were also part of the victorious 4×100 relay team.
“The team has had improvements across the board every meet so far, and this held true for the invitational this past weekend,” Jenkins said. “The regular season is over, championships have begun, and we’re definitely ready for some more intense competition.”
Two others with personal bests for the women were Brianna Hill, a sophomore who won the triple jump (10.62 meters), and senior Rhian Duggan, who won the pole vault at 10-feet-8-inches.
Sophomore Abby Clark also impressed, completing the 100 meter high hurdles in 15.62 seconds, beating her personal best by nearly half a second. Clark is also a member of the gymnastics team at Springfield College.
“It was exciting to see this happening [season and personal bests] as we roll towards the NEWMAC Championships at Springfield College this Saturday,” Pennington said. “It shows we are peaking at the right time for the next four weeks of championships and then NCAA Nationals [on] May 23-25.”
Pennington went on to add that practicing hard in workouts, focusing during every meet and showing a real team effort are the reasons why the team has progressed so well and is achieving these types of results.
“I am very proud of their concentration and caring attitude to be the best they can be, and they represent Springfield College well,” Pennington said.
The men’s track and field team also performed strongly, finishing second out of 10 teams behind only WPI. The Pride finished first and second in two different events and three athletes won their individual events.
Senior runner Sean Nunan came in first in the 400 meter hurdles (56.69 seconds) with fellow senior Nolan Manley right behind him in second (57.41 seconds). The other event in which Springfield took first and second place was the hammer throw.
Springfield junior John Dayton won the event with a 55.37 meter throw, and freshman P.J. Andrews followed up with a throw of 51.47 meters.
The only other winner for the men on Saturday was senior Anthony Salvucci, who finished the 1500 meters in 4:03.21.
Springfield also got solid performances from Ken Toal, who ran the 100 meter dash in 11.24 seconds, and Brandon Hammerstrom, who competed in the shot put and 4×400 meter relay team. Both athletes’ came in second in their events.
Both the men and women will be preparing all week for the NEWMAC Championship meet that is being held at Springfield College on Saturday, April 27.