Underclassmen rise to the top in quad meet

Senior Chris Rizzo jumps over a hurdle in Gesling Stadium during the 3000-meter steeplechase. Rizzo took first place with a time of  10:04.68. (credit: Thomas Hofman/Photo Staff ) Senior Chris Rizzo jumps over a hurdle in Gesling Stadium during the 3000-meter steeplechase. Rizzo took first place with a time of 10:04.68. (credit: Thomas Hofman/Photo Staff )

Last weekend, the Carnegie Mellon track and field team was met with back-to-back action. On Friday, April 9, the distance runners competed in Bucknell University’s Bison Outdoor Classic in Lewisburg, Pa. The following day, the Tartans hosted a quad meet of their own, competing with Penn State University Behrend, Washington & Jefferson College, and Westminster College. The women won the quad meet, while the men ended up taking second place.

“I’m pleased with the times I’ve run this season because the whole program is still new to me,” first-year Noel Titus stated. “I’m still getting accustomed to the more demanding schedule collegiate athletics require and the conditioning techniques of our coaches. I think this meet was a success for the Tartans because everyone stepped up and used the competition to motivate themselves.”

He added, “Across the board, our guys and girls were giving each event their all.”

At Bucknell, Carnegie Mellon runners impressed the competition with several top finishes. In the women’s 1500-meter run, junior Laura McKee took fourth place in 4:53.44, while junior Nate Bussiere snagged second in the men’s 1500-meter run, two seconds behind the leader with a time of 3:56.79. Senior Dario Donatelli took seventh in the 5000-meter run and finished in 15:04.89.

The next day at the quad meet, the women came out on top of a close match, scoring one point over Westminster to win the meet. First-year Lisa Rising made her mark by finishing third in the 1500-meter run in 5:48.86, while teammate junior Courtney Baker won the 800-meter run with a time of 2:20.43. In the 400-meter run, senior Diane Mattingly pulled through for the ladies with a third-place finish in a time of 1:10.49. In the 100-meter dash, sophomore Ivana Moses pulled out a third-place finish with a time of 13.48. In the 100-meter hurdles, sophomore Luci Laffitte stole third in 16.72, while in the 400-meter hurdles, senior Crystal LeePow also came in third in 1:10.29.

LeePow was followed closely by teammate first-year Leila Bouabdellaoui, who took fourth in the event in 1:10.98. Sophomore Christine Warner stole the spotlight in the 5000-meter run, where she placed third in 19:44.81.

Moses continued to dominate the field, where she won both the long and triple jump with distances of 5.19 meters and 10.58 meters, respectively. Sophomore Lisa Marion Garcia also impressed when she won the pole vault, clearing 2.80 meters. First-year Carissa Iannone left an impact on the scoreboard when she placed third in the hammer throw with a distance of 24.58 meters.

As for the men, senior Chris Rizzo won the 3000-meter steeplechase in 10:04.68, while Titus took first in the 100-meter dash in 11.47 and second in the 200-meter dash in 23.24. In the 1500-meter run, first-year Evan Gates managed third in a time of 4:10.03, while first-year Ben Finch turned heads when he earned his first win in the 5000-meter run in 16:29.78. Finally, the Tartans placed first through fourth in their trademark 800-meter run, led by sophomore Rob Morhard, junior Justin Kurp, junior Dan Addis, and junior John Briguglio with times of 1:57.92, 1:58.32, 1:59.48, and 1:59.74, respectively.

On the field, senior James Hulley once again came through by winning the shot put and setting a new school record, with a NCAA provisionally qualifying distance of 16.61 meters. Hulley also won the discus throw, clearing a distance of 45.41 meters. Graduate student Chris Fornataro took the spotlight in the hammer throw, winning the event in 49.97 meters, while Hulley placed second in the event in 44.05 meters. In the long jump, sophomore Ryan Kissel earned third with a 6.59-meter clearance, while junior Pat O’Brien took second in the high jump with a height of 1.85 meters. In the pole vault, senior Chris Bridgman took second in 4.55 meters, while junior Dustin Musselman placed second in the javelin throw, clearing 53.03 meters.

Hulley was satisfied with his performance. “I’ve been fighting a hip flexor injury for a few weeks, so I was a little worried about discus,” he said. “While I’m still lifting heavily and throwing minimally, this season I’ve been improving steadily and threw a lifetime best this past weekend. With our outdoor schedule, the time between UAAs and NCAAs is a great opportunity to focus on one event instead of all three.”

Look for the Tartans as they compete next against Westminster College on Saturday, April 17.