By Jake Tiger
WITH three weeks left before the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championships, Rider track and field competed in Princeton’s Larry Ellis Invitational on April 15 and 16, a showing highlighted by historic performances from both the men’s and women’s teams in the 4×100-meter relay.
Much of the second day was canceled due to inclement weather, but a handful of Broncs from both teams left lasting impressions before the rain rolled in.
“The key is getting to [the MAAC Championships] healthy, confident and ready to roll,” said Head Coach Bob Hamer in an email to The Rider News. “We will be focusing on that over the next few weeks, and putting in the final preparations in training so we can compete at our highest level when it matters the most.”
The men’s performance at Princeton saw the team set a Rider record in the 4×100-meter relay with a time of 41.01 seconds, beating the previous time of 41.11 seconds set in 2004.
“The 4×100 relays have been strong for us over the last few years, and on Saturday, you had the right ingredients for success,” said Hamer. “When you get great weather, great competition and great handoffs, you can run a really fast 4×100.”
The historic effort placed fourth at the meet and was produced by four sprinters: freshman Braeden Haines, sophomore Freddie Haynesworth, graduate student Jerome Boyer and junior Artie Burgess.
The time was fast enough to qualify for the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A), according to the team’s Twitter account.
“I was thrilled with the 4×100-meter team,” said Boyer, the team’s captain, in an email to The Rider News. “My teammates and I were expecting it because of how good of an outdoor season we are having so far. I believed in each and every one of my teammates to deliver.”
Meanwhile, sophomore distance runner Noah Taylor put up the sixth fastest 1,500-meter time in Rider history at 3:50:57, good enough to qualify him for the IC4A Championships, according to the team’s Twitter account.
The women’s team also showed out in the 4×100- meter relay, posting a time of 47.11, the second best time in Rider history and third fastest at the meet. The time qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships, according to the team’s Twitter account.
“We all had high hopes for this event,” said sophomore sprinter Hailey Palmer in an email to The Rider News. “The 4×100-meter women’s relay record was broken last year, and now we just earned No. 2 all-time in Rider history. I also knew that the confidence that the men’s team was bringing would allow them to run well and break the school record, which I was super excited to see them do.”
The relay consisted of sophomore sprinter’s Raisa Thunig, Hailey Palmer, sophomore jumper Mariah Stephens, and graduate student sprinter Alenys Morales, who was a last-second addition to the event after a teammate went down with an injury before the race.
“I honestly was not expecting a historic performance in our 4×100-meter relay because we had to switch one of our legs last minute, unfortunately, due to an injury,” said Stephens, who helped set the Rider record in the 4×100-meter relay last spring with a time of 46.94 seconds, in an email to The Rider News. “This just shows how versatile we are and are ready to compete no matter what the circumstances are, and I couldn’t be prouder of my teammates for stepping up.”
In the field events, junior thrower Samantha Kamara set a personal record in the hammer throw at 50.94 meters, the seventh farthest throw in Rider history and enough to qualify her for the ECAC Championships, according to the team’s Twitter account.
Sophomore jumper Savanna Marcantonio also excelled in the field, soaring 1.7 meters in the high jump to tie the second-highest jump in Rider outdoor history.
Due to inclement weather, the back half of the competition’s second day was delayed multiple times and was eventually called off entirely. Of the 31 events scheduled for the second day, 14 had to be canceled.
The Broncs will compete at home on April 22, hosting the Rider University Invitational from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.