Anthony Cittadino, Staff Writer
This past weekend the Utica College men and women’s track and field team traveled to Ithaca College for the NYSCTC Championships. The meet consisted of competition on Friday and Saturday where the men tied for sixth place out of 14 teams and the women placed 11th out of 13 teams.
On the men’s side, there were a handful of school records broken. On day one for the distance medley relay, freshman Tyler Sutton, sophomore Erik Gleba, junior Erik Winberg and freshman Tyler Wright placed fifth and set the new school record with a time of 10:29.45.
During the 4×200 meter relay, freshmen Kevin Gangemi and Nickolas Williams accompanied junior Nicodemus Gambill and senior Shane Ruffing for another broken school record with a time of 1:30.94.
Williams said it was a great weekend for the Pioneers.
“I felt really good about it,” he said. “We did exceptionally well. We broke the total point scored at a state meet record. For a young team this is very impressive.”
The Pioneers entered day two determined to keep their pace level. In the 4×800 meter relay, junior Patrick Claffey, freshman Nicholas Ashton, Wright and Gleb finished in fourth place and broke another school record with a time of 8:02.22.
Ashton referred to the weekend as a program-defining meet.
“This is a huge deal for our program, not just for us individually, but for the program looking to the future,” he said. “The amount of success we have seen this past season will continue to attract more athletes to our program, which would only increase the depth of our roster and one day turn us into a championship-caliber program.”
In the 4×400 meter race, freshman Rah’mire Logan, sophomore Kyle Carr, Ruffing and Gangemi placed fourth and broke the final school record for the meet with a time of 3:26.34.
“Breaking school records shows continual growth in the program. It also shows off all the hard work the squad has been putting in this year,” head coach Eric Parker said.
Parker mentioned how young this team is, and that only bodes well for the future.
“Our men scored more points this year than any other year at the NYSCTC indoor championships,” he said. “That is extremely exciting especially considering how young the team is in general.”
Switching to the women’s side of the track, the distance medley relay resulted in success for the Pioneers as they qualified for the ECAC indoor championships with a time of 12:59.07. Freshmen Kaitlyn Philips and Brooke Catalano both contributed to this achievement.
“Going into ECACs this weekend, I am very excited and anxious,” Catalano said. “It would be really awesome to break the school record for the distance medley, and I believe if we put in the work this week it is very possible.”
Parker is confident that his team is ready for the championships this weekend.
“We’re in a great spot with our squad,” he said. “We have five performances that are top 50 nationally right now and a handful more that are top 100. We’re looking to head down to Staten Island and break a few more records and improve our standing nationally. With all the hard work the squad has put in, we’re primed for this competition.”
The Pioneers will attend the ECAC Indoor Championships at the end of this week starting on Friday at Staten Island.
Featured Image; Nicodemus Gambill finishes in first place in the 60-meter and 200-meter dash on Saturday. Photo by Janelle Zera.