Running Through the Line, Track and Field Looking Strong

by C. GARRETT KEIDELAsst. Editor

On Thursday Feb. 1, the Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams started two days of competition at the Metropolitan Championships. At the end of competition, the Men’s team finished in second place while the Women’s team placed fifth overall.

Highlights from the Women’s competition included Lisa Fajardo continuing her record-breaking season by setting another school record, this time in the 5,000m race. Freshman Fiona Ruettimann also had success by placing second in the Pentathlon and the High Jump.

Fajardo’s record time in the 5,000m is the second individual indoor track record she has broken this season. Previously she had broken the 3,000m record at the Boston University Terrier Invitational.

“I never went under 17 minutes,” said Fajardo. “The closest I had gotten to it was the school record I had for outdoors which was 17:03 and that was towards the end of outdoors so my body was peaking. That was me running all out. For the Met Championships, which I ran 16:42 at, it was just like going with the flow then picking up at the end. I ran it comfortably uncomfortable so it was crazy to look up at the board and see the time and know the effort that went into it.”

Coach Kerri Gallagher is the Distance and Mid Distance Track Coach at Manhattan College. She has known of and watched Fajardo even before her time at the College.

She provided her take on Fajardo’s success.

“For her I think a lot of it has been a change in mindset, a change in perspective in enjoying racing and enjoying training,” said Gallagher. “I think she has gotten a lot stronger so obviously there is a physical aspect. She just a better runner than she was the past two years just because she’s older, more mature and stronger as she has trained over the years.

“But the difference between this year and what I saw last year is she is running a little more free, with a little more excitement and enthusiasm. This summer I think she made the decision that she was going to do some great things and she put the work in.”

On the Men’s team, many found success at the Metropolitan Championships. Brenton Foster, who broke the school record for the high jump earlier this season, continued his success as he placed first in the event at a height of 2.09 meters. Manhattan swept the shot put by taking the top four spots in competition. Freshman Anu Awonusi placed first by throwing the second-longest shot put distance in the MAAC conference at 16.80 meters. Ryan Addlesberger, Ire Bozovicar and Eric Waugh placed placed second, third and fourth respectively.

The Men’s team didn’t stop there on their way to a second place finish. Freshman Tim Youtkus won the seven-event heptathlon at the Met Championships and senior Love Litzell won the weight throw competition.

Coach Dan Mecca is the Head Track and Field Coach at the College and reflected on the events that unfolded at the Met Championships for the Men’s team.

“We’ve battled back and forth with Rutgers for the last 25 years,” said Mecca. “I think that every championship has come down to either us or Rutgers except maybe two in that time. In a ways it’s great to see so many kids step up and see some of the things we work on. In another way it’s very frustrating to see where we could have won it. But now let’s use this as a learning experience. Let’s use this as a tool to prepare for the MAACs, for the ICs, to go on and to reach success at meets from that point on.”