|Runners compete in the men's 5,000-meter race during the
2009 Empire 8 Track and Field Championships held at the
Gordon Field House on Sunday, February 1.
Through Perseverance, Progress
February 1 was a day for the RIT Indoor Track and Field team to continue collecting the dividends of their intense effort.
The men’s team earned second place in the Empire 8 Championship Meet, taking a heartbreaking loss to Ithaca College by a single point. “Close losses are always tough. There were some instances where we could have done a little better but there were many areas where the team performed extremely well,” professed fifth year Electrical Engineering major, captain and distance runner Dereck Bojanowski.
Reduced in numbers and impacted by several injuries,
the women’s team also took second place to Ithaca. Despite the team results of this particular meet, fifth year Electrical Engineering major and captain Joanna Dobeck is encouraged by the fact that “there is a level of competitiveness that pushes us to run faster, throw and jump farther in practice, which helps to make us even better for the meets.” She can’t wait for the season to continue into the spring with the startup of outdoor track and field so that she can continue to improve alongside her teammates. Though the competing team is relatively smaller than usual, third year Electrical Engineering major Lindsey Clark gave voice to the general team motto when she said, “What you put in, you will see the benefits of in the long run.”
In addition, several athletes qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) meet, including fourth year Mechanical Engineering major Michael Hardbarger, fifth year Computer Engineering major Timothy Wesley, third year Laboratory Science Technology major Samantha Mitchell, third year Biotechnology major Jamie Morey,
fourth year Electrical Engineering majors Chris Libera and first year Eletrical Engneering Tecnology major Carol Melice. This was a true testament to the hard work and dedication of athletes and coaching staff alike. RIT also posted several marked improvements in the meet that took place on Super Bowl Sunday, with the 400 meter relays for both the men’s and women’s team taking first place as well as Clark throwing a personal best in the weight throw event.
|Members of the RIT Track and Field team celebrate after the RIT win in the 5,000-meter race.
Hardbarger, a returning All-American in the mile, was named Outstanding Male Athlete for the meet and chalked up two first place finishes in his events,
one of those wins being an Empire 8 meet record. Coach Dave Warth strongly believes that this athlete has a legitimate chance at qualifying for the national NCAA finals, since “everything he has done has been right on schedule for what we want” in preparation for a campaign to become the Division III national champion in the mile run.
Rookies Libera of sprints and Melice in the pole vault have also proven their potential and heart as they qualified for the ECAC meet, much to the pleasure of Coach Warth. “I feel [that Melice] is only going to improve as she gets more used to the college scene. Libera was a major surprise as this was his first meet of the year, returning from injury.” Morey and Wesley have also progressed in the throwing events under the tutelage of Coach Walters.
Head coach Warth and assistant coaches Sonya Walters and Dave Stevens have all been working individually with the athletes to prepare them for the postseason and keep students healthy throughout their competitive seasons, from cross country to indoor and outdoor track and field.
“We meet and work with them daily throughout the whole season,” says team captain Morey.
Coach Warth has hotly contested that RIT has “one of the best coaching staffs in all of Division III,” including Coach Walters, a former World Record holder in throwing, in her first season coaching at RIT.
On the weekend of February 6 and 7, the Tigers competed at both the New Balance Invitational and Syracuse Invitational.
The most notable achievement was by Hardbarger, who broke RIT’s mile record by three seconds and qualified for the NCAA Championships in March.
There are three more meets that will give other Tigers the opportunity to earn times or distances great enough to qualify for this prestigious national meet.