Individual disappointments and successes mixed to shape the men’s track and field team’s performance at the Atlantic Ten Championships this past Saturday.
The Owls finished seventh out of eight teams at the meet, held at Rhode Island. They may have finished sixth had senior Jonathan Albright not been disqualified from the 55-meter hurdle finals.
Albright’s race was not the only performance that went wrong for the Owls. Coach Stefanie Scalessa was unimpressed by the way the men raced collectively.
“We had some incredible individual performances, but we need to learn to run as a team,” she said. “We need to compete as a team, not just individuals.”
Specifically, Scalessa said the Owls need to work on communicating. The Owl’s 3200-meter relay team failed to get to the starting line in time for the race and was disqualified.
Albright, after building a formidable early lead in his race, knocked over the final hurdle to finish ahead of the rest of the competition. But the officials ruled Albright kicked the hurdle.
The disqualification prevented Albright from winning his third consecutive 55-meter hurdles in the A-10 Championships. He was subsequently barred from all events.
Scalessa appealed, but upon review the ruling stood.
“The [official] witnesses said that [Albright] ‘didn’t make a valid attempt to clear the hurdle,'” Scalessa said. “They said, ‘he was out of control.'”
Junior sprinter David Jackson said he was disappointed in the ruling.
“It’s sad to see that,” Jackson said. “He works hard and I look up to him. He’s a silent leader. Every time he steps onto the track he gives it all he’s got.”
The meet did not go entirely wrong for the Owls. Various competitors turned in noteworthy performances.
Junior William Wacker won the 500-meter run to qualify for the IC4A Championships and earn a place on the all-A-10 First Team. He was the Owls’ only winner of the day.
Wacker, Jackson, senior Steven Johnson, and freshman Marquise Stancil competed on the 1600-meter relay team that finished in third place.
“The first two legs did a nice job of opening the race up,” Jackson said. “When I got the baton, I wanted to do well and make those guys proud.”
Jackson finished fifth in the 200-meter dash and made it to the 55-meter dash finals along with teammate Travis Shelton. Shelton won the 55-meter dash preliminaries, but finished sixth in the finals.
In the field, freshman Rahmel Huffman and junior Wendell Raulston started off the meet by finishing second and third in the high jump, respectively. Huffman’s jump earned him a spot on the A-10 All-Conference team.
Senior Brian Reed fell one spot shy of placing in the top five of shot put, but Scalessa said she is impressed by the effort he’s put forth this season.
“He’s increased his distance by four to five feet,” Scalessa said.
As a team, the Owls finished with 50 points, 28 points higher than at last season’s meet when many individuals could not perform due to injuries.
John Kopp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.