The Saint Leo Track Team opened their season on Feb. 18 at the Embry Riddle Aeronautics last chance meet in Daytona, Fla. The event went from the morning to the afternoon including field events and running events from the 60 meter to the five kilometer race that was the last individual event before the relays.
The Lions were extremely successful from the beginning on. In the first event, which was the 3000 meter run, Colett Rampf and Rafal Matuszczak took home the victory in the men’s and the women’s race by setting new personal and school records. Both ran an offensive race by leading the field from the front and running an 8:36 for Matuszczak and a 9:49 for Rampf.
Throughout the day, the Lions scored during a variety of events from sprints to distance events. Lauren Csubak was also able to run a school record by placing fourth in the 1000 meter race in a time of 3:07. More top ten places for the women’s were performed by Haley Roussel and Tiffany Gargiulo in the 800 meter run, and Natalie McCormick in the one mile race. In the 5000 meter race Laura Tobin placed fourth with Fatima Abu-Rumman placing ninth.
On the men’s site, Anthony Deleva was able to place fourth in the 3000 meter run and shortly after that scoring another fourth place in the 1000 meter. Niclas Bez was able to win the one mile race with a school record. More top ten results were scored by Joshua Sickinger and Joe Marrah by placing second and eight in the 5000 meter.
“I felt really good today. Starting off the day with the 3000 meter was very hard, since it was very windy on the track. However, running a school record in the one kilometer race was great and I hope I set the bar high for future athletes,” said Deleva, who is a junior with a major in sports business.
The last events of the day were the team relays. Saint Leo had entered teams in the distance medley relay, which consists out of a 1200-meter leg, 400-meter leg, 800-meter leg, and a mile at the end. The women’s team was able to beat the University of Tampa in a head to head race with Rampf outrunning their big rival on the last leg of the relay.
“I think that it was a very good day for myself and the entire women’s team. A lot of girls ran new personal bests and I am very excited to see how the season will continue. At the end of Mar. and in Apr. we will have bigger races, like the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina and the Mt. Sac relay in California. The quality of the athletes in these races is very high and we are looking forward to it,” said Rampf, who is a senior with a major in economics.
The last event of the day was the men’s distance medley relay. In the order of Deleva, David Gardner, Bez, and Matuszczak, the Lions were having a close race with the University of Tampa and Embry Riddle. In the end, the Lions were able to take the win and break the previous school record by 37 seconds in a time of 10 minutes and 27 seconds.
“Winning is always great, but helping the distance medley relay break the school record was amazing, especially because the other guys are all seniors. I think the coaches prepared us really well, since we were all able to do well in multiple events” said Deleva.
Overall, the Track team had a successful start to their 2017 track season. Both the men’s and the women’s teams had outstanding performances by setting many personal and school records. However, all athletes will have to keep improving in order to have a chance to qualify individuals for the National Championship that will take place in May in Bradenton, Fla.
“I would summarize today by saying that it was a very successful meet even though we just used it as a test to see where our fitness level is. Knowing that we were still able to break six school records is exciting. In order to keep improving throughout the season we will work in two groups, the mid-distance and the long distance group. Each of the groups will have to work more on performing better at the end of races,” said Head Coach Kent Reiber, after the meet.
The Saint Leo men’s and women’s track teams will return to action on Mar. 3, when the Lions travel to the University of Tampa for the UT Track Invitational.