Track and Field Distance Medley Relay Team Breaks School Record By 0.67 Seconds

On Jan. 27, the Manhattan College track and field team followed up a record-breaking performance from the day prior with breaking another school record.

On Jan. 26 at the Boston University John Thomas Terrier Classic, Lisa Fajardo bested Cheryl Simoni’s 30-year-old 3,000-meter indoor time of 9:43.07 with a time of 9:39.00. Then the next day, Erin Spadaccini, Mikeisha Kelly, Kelly Gorman and Fajardo all combined for a time of 11:50.06 in the distance medley relay which broke the previous school record for the same indoor event by just 0.67 seconds.

“I think we were just excited and we knew that we were capable of getting the record and then just doing it and putting it in place; it was just a great feeling,” said Gorman.

That previous record had been in place for the past 26 years as it was set at the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships back in 1992.

The four runners came in fourth place for the event overall and qualified for the ECAC Championships themselves by their performance as a team. The Championships will be held in Boston and will take place from March 2-4.

The race itself was divided up into four different distances: a 1,200-meter leg, a 400-meter leg, an 800-meter leg and a mile leg. Spadaccini started the girls off, followed by Kelly, Gorman and then Fajardo.

Before the race even began, the thought of breaking the record was in the back of their minds.

“We went into it half-heartedly as a joke like ‘Yeah let’s break the record,’ but kind of seriously,” said Spadaccini.

The idea of breaking the record was pretty much shared by all the members of the relay team. However, for Kelly it was an idea that may not have been running through her mind for all too long.

Kelly is a sprinter who has never run a distance medley before in college. Also she had only learned that she was going to run in that distance medley the day of the race.

“It was my first collegiate distance medley,” said Kelly. “I felt very welcomed, very at home, just really excited to run and hopefully break that record with them.”

After Spadaccini finished her part of the race, she watched as her three other teammates pushed forward.

“Everytime they passed by you can see the determination and the pushing and the effort,” said Spadaccini.

With the record being broken by such a small margin, there wasn’t really a moment early on in the race that made it seem like it was theirs for the taking. However, once Kelly saw the way Fajardo was running towards the end of her race, she had a good sense that they’d be the new record holders.

“Definitely watching Lisa finish up as we’re all watching from the side, I was like ‘We definitely got it,’” said Kelly.

The four runners were extremely happy after their performance and did not hide it.

“When we found out, we were so excited,” said Fajardo. “We were jumping up and down, we were hugging. And then when we found out that we broke it by such a small margin, it was even more crazy because we’re like, ‘Wow every little step that everybody did really counted.’”

The four runners were not the only ones who were overjoyed. Head coach Kerri Gallagher couldn’t stop smiling after witnessing what had just been done. That in itself was personally rewarding to Fajardo.

“It’s a really nice feeling to make your coach that happy and that impressed because she works really hard with us and she does everything for us so it’s nice to give her something in return,” said Fajardo.

Relays are different from other races for a variety of reasons, but perhaps none more prevalent than their teamwork aspect. They allow for a seemingly independent sport to be a lot more dependent.

“To be able to have an opportunity to do it together is something that’s indescribable,” said Spadaccini. “We all share it together. It’s one of the few races you can share with a group of people that is really memorable and exciting.”

For Gorman, the accomplishment was very meaningful.

“It honestly means so much more,” said Gorman. “There’s a lot of goals that a lot of us want to accomplish this semester both individually and as a team, but I think just being with the team and working hard with [the] girls and just working towards the same goal, it just makes the achievement that much sweeter.”

Likewise, Kelly found it amazing and uncomparable.

“Just being able to do that, especially with these girls, was absolutely amazing,” said Kelly. “It was a feeling like no other truly.”