For the men’s and women’s track and field teams, success is not measured in wins and losses. Their vindication stems from progress and at the Atlantic Ten Conference indoor championships in Kingston, R.I. Saturday, more than a few hurdles were surpassed.
The men united to finish in fourth out of 10 teams, while the women combined for a sixth place finish among 12 teams. This time last season, the two squads had just capped off eighth place finishes.
“We’re still a pretty young team, and we’ve needed to continue to improve, and we’ve definitely got that,” third-year coach Stefanie Scalessa said. “We need to keep training, training hard, and gaining more confidence, bringing in more and more athletes to help out the athletes that have been the cornerstone.”
The men tied their highest finish in A-10 Indoor Championship history. The Owls registered eighth-place performances in 1993 and 1996.
Looking deeper into the numbers, the Owls improved their competitive level tremendously.
At last season’s indoor championship, the men scored 37 points overall while the women totaled 42 points. This year, the men more than doubled their prior score with 87 points while the women reached 65.5 points.
Sophomore Tim Boeni and senior Marquise Stancil led the men with strong outings. Boeni finished second in the long jump, fourth in the high jump, and sixth in the 200m dash. Stancil raced to a second place result in the 500m with a time of 1:04:46, good enough to qualify for the IC4A Championship, a meet for mid-Atlantic participants.
The women were paced with solid showings from freshman Paris Williams and sophomore Melissa Gale. Williams won the 500m with a time of 1:15:48, and Gale finished second in the pole vault with a season best lunge of 11-3 3/4. Junior Amanda Cole broke another school record in the weight throw with a distance of 53-1 1/2 feet, a toss which landed her a fifth place finish.
Both teams’ young talent proved worthy of the event. Of the 58 members of the men’s roster, 45 are freshmen and sophomores. For the women, 26 of the 42 athletes are underclassmen.
Charlotte asserted its dominance of the day by winning both men’s and women’s titles. 49ers coach Bob Oleson was named the 2008 Men and Women’s A-10 Coach of the Year.
The men and women return to the track for the NYU FastTrack at New York University Feb. 29.
“We’re going to take this time and sort of regroup, get back to the basics again and build on the foundation that we have,” Scalessa said. “[We will] get back in the weight room, and get strong in there again.”
Anthony Stipa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.