RWU track & field endures rollercoaster of emotions over conference placement

Pictures courtesy of Kayla Ebner

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Tears of distress streamed down their faces just 24 hours after jumping, cheering and crying at the level of satisfaction they were just granted.

Last Saturday afternoon at the Commonwealth Coast Conference Championship, the women’s track & field team triumphed against Salve Regina University to accomplish a half point win over their long-time rival—or so they thought.

The team was given the news on Sunday that the scores were counted incorrectly and Salve Regina had come out on top by 3.5 points.

“I’m disappointed,” said head coach Sean Livingston. “Not at [them], but for [them].”

Livingston commended both teams for their hard work on Saturday stating that they were still able to celebrate all the effort they put in throughout the season.

“It definitely hurt knowing how much we wanted this, that we couldn’t come up with the win. It is easy to think about things you could have done differently or events that you could have scored just one more point in, but in the end there is only so much you can do,” said senior captain Becky Kulak who competed in 10 events throughout the day, placing in eight and scoring over 30 points.

Another huge competitor on Saturday was sophomore Savannah Fox Tree-McGrath who qualified for nationals in the high jump with a jump of 5-foot-5.75. This jump was also enough to break the meet record and Fox Tree-McGrath’s previously set school record in the event. Fox Tree-McGrath also placed third in the shot put with a toss of 8.85-meters.

Other personal record breakers for the women included: Freshman Hannah Kaplan and sophomore Piper Wilber in the 1500-meter run; senior Stephanie Limanni in the javelin throw; sophomore Leah Hintz in the pole vault and long jump; Kulak for the javelin throw and shot put; freshman Katie Romanovicz in the 100-meter hurdles; 400-meter hurdles and long jump; freshman Nadia Rohlfs in the 400-meter dash; sophomore Kylie Hofhaug in the hammer throw and shot put; freshman Lauren Stone in the long jump; high jump and 400-meter hurdles, and freshman Deja Peterson-Rios in the long jump and triple jump.

“I was proud of the way that everyone handled themselves. We all knew that we needed to run, throw and jump our hearts out not just for ourselves, but for our teams. I was proud as a captain, teammate and friend at the level of support we all had for each other,” said Kulak.

The effort was shown on the men’s side, as well, as they fell 15 points short to Nichols College.

“It was definitely stressful that we came so close and it’s frustrating knowing that we’ve won the [CCC] for the past eight years,” said senior captain Steve “Dash Bro” McManus. “I wouldn’t want anyone else on my team this year than what we had because they’re all great guys and very talented; we just came up short.”

According to Livingston, both teams scored more points than the initial performance list had accounted for.

Sophomore Jacob Mailloux tied the meet record in high jump with a personal record (PR) of 6-foot-3.25 and first place. Mailloux also won the long jump with a PR of 21-feet-3.5 inches and placed third in the discus throw.

Individual high scorers on the team also included: Junior Justin Burnett in the 100-meter dash; sophomore Liam “Dash Bro” Tracey (PR), Burnett, junior Kabine Conde and Steve McManus in the 200-meter dash; junior Joffre Rodriguez (PR), Conde, senior Max Axelrod and freshman Nicholas Krajewski in the 400-meter dash; junior Nicholas Malone, sophomore Wade Whitney, junior Andrei Safontchik and freshman Parker Cleathero in the 800-meter run; Safontchik and sophomore Nick Sasso in the 1500-meter run; senior Matt Simonelli, Safontchik, senior Mikhail Salnicov and Malone in the 3000-meter run; Simonelli, Salnicov and junior Kevin McManus in the 5000-meter run; freshman Theo Sarette and sophomore Sean Tetrault in the 110-meter hurdles, and Sarette, freshman Noah Hysong and Tetrault in the 400-meter hurdles.

The 4×100-meter “A” team included Burnett, S. McManus, Tracey and Sarette (PR) and placed first with a time of 44.23, 0.10 seconds away from the current school record. Field athletes sophomores Samuel Lugo, Benjamin Joly, Loukas Varas and Mailloux competed in the relay and placed third with a time of 51.28.

The 4×400-meter “A” team finished three seconds away from the current school record with a time of 3:32.96. Axelrod, Conde, Rodriguez and Sarette competed in the event.

In the field, Hysong also won the pole vault with a season-best jump of 13-feet-1.75. Varas placed third in the triple jump with a season-best, as well. Joly (PR) and Lugo (season-best) placed second and third in the shot put and third (Lugo PR) and fourth (Joly season-best). Senior Andrew Nason placed fourth in the javelin.

Kulak and S. McManus shared their thoughts on the upcoming seasons as they graduate from RWU.

“My experience on the team for the past four years has been unbelievable and I feel blessed to be able to work with the coaching staff here to achieve things that I never knew that I could,” said S. McManus. “I know that next year’s team is already highly motivated for the season. I think there are a lot of talented athletes that we have whether it be Liam, Jake, JB, Conde or Joffre. I’m confident that those guys will take on leadership roles and show the freshmen what winning is like here. I could mention the whole team, they’re all great competitors and talented athletes. The freshmen this year were incredible, Theo, Nick and Noah battled all year and were fun to train alongside. Definitely a positive outlook for next year.”

“If they fight as hard as we did this year, I am confident that they will come up with more PR’s, qualifying times/distances and conference championships,” said Kulak. “Hawks always fly together!”