On Mar. 3, the Saint Leo Men’s Track, as well as Women’s Track teams participated in their second meet of the season as the teams competed in the University of Tampa Classic held in Tampa, Fla. While the men finished the meet in fourth place, the women managed to finish as fifth best team of the competition. Three Saint Leo runners won their events individually.
Despite the early stage of the season, the Lions successfully finished the meet held at Pepin Rood Stadium. Not only did three individuals win their events, but they also broke two school records, and both teams were close to finishing the competition in the top three.
On the men’s side, the men finished as fourth out of 13 teams. The Lions scored 25 points. Senior Niclas Bez led the field and finished the 800m run as first while clocking a time of 1:52.61.
Bez was one of two individuals who managed to win their events on the men’s side as another senior, Rafal Matuszczak, won the 5000m race with a time of 14:44.50, which is also a new school record in the event.
Junior Anthony Deleva managed to finish the race with a time of 15:08.93, which allowed him to cross the finish line as fifth. Josh Sickinger, a graduate student who joined the Lions this spring, also placed himself in the top 10, and he managed to finish the race with a time of 15:19.34.
Freshmen Tyler Pantley and Chris Carbet, who ran in the second heat of the 5000m run, also had a remarkable performance, as both significantly improved their personal records.
On the women’s side, the Lions scored 32 points, which allowed them to finish the competition as the fifth best team out of nine who participated.
In the 800m run, juniors Lauren Csubak and Haley Roussell both finished in the top ten. While Csubak crossed the finish line as fourth with a time of 2:24.63, Roussell finished sixth with a time of 2:27.99.
Sophomore Cierra Gregory was the Lions’ only sprinter to finish the competition in the top ten. Gregory, who participated in the 200m crossed the finish line with a time 26.59, which allowed her to finish the race in fifth place.
The Lions dominated the 5000m run placing two runners on the podium. While Sophomore Laura Tobin, crossed the finish line as third with a time of 18:19.54, Junior Colett Rampf won the event with a lead of over one minute with a posted time of 17:03.67.
Not only is Rampf’s time a new personal record but it is the best result a female runner has ever achieved in Saint Leo’s history.
Rampf is also the university’s only female runner who has participated in the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships. As Rampf managed to qualify for the championships in 2015, as well as 2016, the runner strives for a third consecutive appearance.
“I am still in the process to build up my mileage and to get back in shape. As for now, even so, I faced some setbacks during the Christmas break, I am in decent shape for this early stage in the season,” said Rampf.
Even though the runner had a remarkable performance during the University of Tampa Track Classic, Rampf’s main event is not 5000m, but 3000m steeplechase. Therefore, similarly to the two previous NCAA appearances in which the Lion participated, Rampf will try to qualify for the championships by hitting a qualifying standard in this event.
As it is an early stage of the season, the 5000m run performance is a good forecast for the upcoming races where the Lion will have a chance to secure a spot on the list for the national championships that will take place in May.
“My main goals for the upcoming races in NC State as well as in Mt. Sac are to improve my 3 km Steeplechase time and get the A-Cut for the NCAA National Championships out of my way as soon as possible,” said Rampf.
While hitting an A-qualifying standard would guarantee that Rampf will participate in the championships, a B-qualifying standard could also give the runner such a chance, just as it did in 2015 and 2016.
The first time Rampf will run her main event will be Mar. 24 when the runner will participate in the Raleigh Relays at NC State University in Raleigh, N.C. Nevertheless, the Lions will come back to action sooner, as their other meet takes place at the University of South Florida on Mar. 17 where the runners will participate in the University of South Florida Bulls Invitational.