The Manhattan College men’s and women’s track and field teams took a trip down to 216 Fort Washington Avenue on Feb. 17-Feb. 18 to participate in the 2018 MAAC Indoor Championships held in the New Balance Armory Track and Field Center.
The men finished in third place and the women finished in fourth place. While neither team took home a MAAC title, the runners combined for one broken record, three individual performance awards and 13 medals.
The broken record was courtesy of senior Paige Chapman. She ran the 60-meter dash in 7.48 seconds during the preliminaries on day one. That time was good enough for not only a new school record, but also for a new MAAC record.
“It’s something I think that all of us strive to do,” said Chapman regarding the record. “It’s good to walk away with something like that that I know it’s the result of all the hard work. This is what we build up to do. We want to set records and then break those records and then break them again.”
Before the race, Chapman wanted to get her muscles warm, work up a sweat and get in enough practice starts to feel smooth. Before the race, she was a little nervous knowing it was her last indoor MAAC Championships.
“The preparation for that race is always something that a lot of sprinters take very seriously,” said Chapman. “I take my time when I’m getting ready to run a [60-meter dash]. I usually start maybe an hour or so before the race itself.”
All the practice and preparation paid off for Chapman. For Joe Ryan, associate head coach of sprints and hurdles, the performance did not come as a huge surprise due to all that Chapman does to succeed.
“It was great to see her top it off as well,” said Ryan. “I wasn’t surprised quite frankly.”
He predicted what she would run last year and she ended up running close to that. Likewise this time around he told her she’d smash through a certain barrier and perhaps even break the school record, which she ended up doing.
However, the record-breaking performance came as a surprise to Chapman herself.
“No I was very shocked to be honest,” said Chapman. “I couldn’t see what the time was from as far away I was from the screen. Then finally I hear coach Ryan yelling from across the track. He was overjoyed. I just knew off of his face that it must’ve been something good.”
Chapman’s record is the fifth record set during the indoor season since December. Lisa Fajardo has been a part of three of those performances. While she did not set a record this time around, she did take home gold in the 3,000-meter race with a time of 9:47.82.
Brenton Foster likewise has broken a record this season, and similarly to Fajardo, while he did not do so this time, he took home gold in the high jump.
“It’s the best he’s looked in a high jump since he’s hit the school record in December,” said head track and field coach Dan Mecca. “We went back to the same approach he had done in December to really work on being explosive and getting off the ground. He looked great. He looked fantastic.”
Foster recorded a 2.18-meter high jump which was 0.11 meters better than the next jumper and only 0.03 meters away from matching the MAAC record.
The second-place finisher was Foster’s teammate Fredrik Lofgren. Coach Mecca felt Lofgren’s presence helped Foster’s performance.
“I think it really helps him having Fredrik jumping right there with him,” said Mecca. “And Frederick also getting second place in the high jump helped push Brenton to do a little bit better.”
Foster put his jump into the context of the season so far and also felt Lofgren’s participation in the event was a plus.
“It’s the second-best competition I’ve had this year,” said Foster. “It felt really good. I had my teammate Fredrik along with me. It was his best competition of the year so we really pushed each other which was good.”
Foster also participated in the triple jump and long jump. For all his successes, he was awarded Most Outstanding Field Performer of the meet. The honor was meaningful to Foster, but the fact that he was able to help his team made it even more special.
“It definitely means a lot,” said Foster. “For championships it’s a big team effort. For best field performer it means I’ve scored the most points or done something outstanding which is great for the team.”
The other two who took home individual awards were rookies Lasma Padedze and Eduard Winner, who won Field Rookie of the Meet honors.
Foster won the same award for the 2017 Outdoor MAAC Championships held on May 6, 2017. He gave both rookies kudos knowing how challenging it is to perform well as a freshman.
“It’s always hard for a freshman (especially looking at my freshman year) to come out and to perform so well, especially at a championship meet. It was really good,” said Foster.
Lasma, who specializes in the shot put, topped her personal best in the event by a distance of around three feet. She won bronze with a throw of 13.5 feet.
Winner, who specializes in the pole vault, won the event with a final of 4.65 meters. The results he has had so far in his Manhattan career has already impressed coach Ryan.
“I think it’s very exciting to have him in the program right now,” said Ryan. “He’s got enormous potential. I think ultimately I can see him possibly taking down the Manhattan College pole vault record.”
Not only did Winner do the pole vault, but he also participated in the 60-meter hurdles with very little experience in the event.
“It was very nice to see him do well in the hurdles as well,” said Ryan. “Because he went into that race pretty much unranked and ended up finishing in third place. Although I wasn’t surprised by that either because I felt there is a lot of potential there.”
While Manhattan definitely left their mark on the 2018 Indoor MAAC Championships, another year has passed with Monmouth at the top instead of them. With the men’s team winning 18 of the past 25 MAAC Indoor Championships and the women winning 14 of the last 25, coach Mecca and coach Ryan have kept their eyes on the prize.
“I think in the future we’re just gonna have to get after them, put our heads down and keep at it,” said Ryan. “But we’ve been doing that here for a very very long time and we do regard ourselves as a team that basically likes to chase championships.”