Indoor track & field sprints into 2010

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By ELAINA MERCATORIS

After sending five student athletes to the NCAA Division III Championships last year, the men’s and women’s track teams look forward to success this season.  The Gators opened up 2010 against Baldwin-Wallace last Saturday, Jan. 23. 

“The meet was just to get back into the swing of things,” said Assistant Coach Brent Wilkerson.

“Coach [Ross] made it clear it was a really low pressure meet,” said Mia Symoniak, ’10, who finished second in the 1000–meter run (3:13.13) and fifth in the mile (5:25.23).

Lauren Butler, ’12, last year’s North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Indoor shot put champion, qualified for this year’s NCAC Championships with a runner-up finish Saturday with a throw of 11.85 meters.

Beth Muller, ’11 and Rebecca Lendyak, ’11, also qualified for the NCAC Championships in the 55–meter dash with fifth and seventh place finishes.

“We had some strong performances on Saturday. A lot of girls really stepped it up,” Symoniak said. “I think we have a really good chance of doing well as a team this year.”

After winning five consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference Championships, the men’s team has not come out on top the past two years.

“Though we have been losing the conference meet, we’ve been doing better at Nationals,” said Andrew Mahone, ’11. “It’s been a couple years since we won a conference meet. As a team, that’s one thing we’re always shooting for, to get back on top.”

Mahone is providing his own assistance in that effort, claiming an NCAC Championship qualifier with a third place finish (with a time of 2:00.77) in the 800–meter run.  Garrett Gleeson, ’12, qualified in the 3,000m run with a time of 8:55.64 for sixth place.

The men’s team was led by Dipre, who placed second in the mile with a time of 4:16.32 and took first in the 1000-meter run.

Gators took all three top spots in the 1000-meter run: Followed by Dipre, Zac Ross, ’11 took second, followed by Mike Vlah, ’13 in third.

“We have a young team, which is awesome,” Mahone said. “Mike Vlah is a freshman to look out for.”

“On a national level, we have a DMR (Distance Medley Relay) looking to go,” Wilkerson said, “as well as our returning miler, Dipre, who has already just missed the provisional national qualifying time.”

The DMR is made up of increments of  400, 800, 1200 and 1600 meters, each run by a different person.

The team went to Nationals last year, but one man tripped in the race. 

The medley team is looking for a repeat chance to compete this year. The team will travel to Boston to try to hit a national qualifier time.

After last year’s men and women took second and third place finishes, respectively, at the NCAC Championships, Wilkerson looks to compete this year for those top spots.

“We’ll definitely finish in the top half of the conference,” Wilkerson said.  “We should. The high goal is to finish second on both teams, maybe even first.”

The Gators continue the season this Saturday, Jan. 30 at Denison.

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