Record-breaking 4X400 relay eyeing a national qualifier

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Source: ucpioneers.com

Zach Thomann, Sports Editor

The Utica College men’s indoor track 4X400 relay team broke a school record at it’s meet in Geneva, Ohio on Jan. 20.

The group, comprised juniors Brenden Moore, Tyler Wright, Alex Luckoo and Kevin Gangemi, finished with a time of 3:19.55 and ranks second on the NCAA Div. III indoor qualifying list in the early stages of the season.

Moore is excited for the remainder of the season and sees two factors in particular that have lead to the early success.

“Working hard is how I believe in breaking a record, and trusting your teammates and coaches,” Moore said.

Moore is hopeful that the relay team will qualify for Nationals, which motivates him to improve going forward.

“We have plenty of room to grow and improve on our record,” Moore said. “It’s still early in the season, and we’re working hard every day to break it again.”

Wright believes that putting trust into the coaching staff has lead to the recent success. He credits associate head coach Sam Catterson for pushing the team into the right direction.

“Coach Catterson is a great coach and helps everything run smoothly for us,” Wright said. “He always has a plan, and I just need to trust the process.”

Head coach Eric Parker was surprised to see a record-breaking time this early in the season.

“We traveled out to Ohio to run fast times,” Parker said. “But I wasn’t expecting a relay that good.”

Parker believes that the relay team has a good starting point to build off of for the remainder of the season. He thinks that having a record-breaking performance toward the beginning of the season will lead to even better times as the season goes on.

“We want to go to Nationals,” Parker said. “We need to shave off three seconds on an oval track to compete at a National pace, but they showed me that there is a lot more in the tank.”

Despite their performance, the four athletes who ran the relay in Ohio are not necessarily the group that will compete for Nationals, according to Parker. He believes that the runners need to compete for their spots every day in order to get the most out of his athletes.

“We have 12 guys who could potentially be in that spot by the end of the season,” Parker said. “The whole team is motivated and I don’t need to remind them of our goals.”

Parker has taken an unconventional approach this season without the Todd and Jenn Hutton Sports and Recreation Center. He believes that his practices have still been effective.

“We’ve been creative with our practices whether it’s on the turf, in the hallways or at Hamilton,” Parker said. “No matter where we are, the practices cover everything a runner needs.”

The team has shown resilience without the dome, Parker said. He thinks that each athlete understands the challenges and have kept a positive attitude.

“The dome is not an issue,” Wright said. “It would be nice to have, but we do fine without it.”

The Dome offered a place for the track team to train during the winter, but despite the disadvantage this year the team continues to set high goals.

“Sometimes it’s hard to stay consistent with times on the track because we’re not able to run on a track everyday like most teams are able to do,” Moore said. “But we always push through and try to improve.”


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