Track and Field breezes through Spring Invitational 


Student athletes jump hurdles during the Pioneer Spring Invitational. Photo: Kayleigh Sturtevant

Jeremy Horowitz, Staff Writer

On April 7 and 8, the Men’s and Women’s Track and Field teams competed in the Utica Pioneer Spring Invitational. The weekend highlight was the men’s team taking first place in their meet, with 195.5 points, and the women’s team taking second place, with 123 points. 

On day one, the Pioneers had multiple athletes in the top finishing positions of the javelin throw. Justin Swavely would take first place in the event, where he would throw both a facility record and a personal record throw of 58.92m. That throw would put him into 10th place overall in all of NCAA Division 3. 

Laura Meade took third place in her javelin debut, as she had a throw of 29.94 m, as she now sits in 6th all time in program history. Another Pioneer who would set a new personal record this weekend, Abbie Knaish, had placed fifth, with a throw of 25.88 m. With that throw, it became her new personal record by more than five meters.

Day two was more of the same for the Pioneers and started on the track, as the first event was the 4x100m relay. The women’s team took two of the top five spots, with Mackenzie Mix finishing second with a time of 12.72s and Meade finishing in fifth with a time of 13.03s. Meade, who had a very impressive weekend, would also win the women’s 100m hurdles. Mix, had also finished second in the women’s 200m, with a time of 26.18s.

The men’s 4×100 team, consisting of Zureil Wright, Andrew Hadasz, Ethan Kain and Shane Tinney would finish in second place, with a season best time of 43.01s. Hadasz, would also take second place in the men’s 100m, with a time of 11.11s. Also, he finished in second place in the 200m, with a time of 22.60s. 

Both teams would dominate in the 400m races, with the men’s triple threat of Jonathan Simmons, Andrew Wieder and Tylon Bellinger taking three of the top five spots in the men’s 400m hurdle event, as Meade, Jade Dening, Janaiya Cruz-Bermudezm and Noella Burlette would control the women’s 4×400 relay. 

The men’s trio would end up in second, fourth and fifth place, as Simmons would finish second with a time of 59.34s, Weider in fourth place with a time of 1:01.38 and Billinger in fifth with a time of 1:02.78. 

The women would take first place, absolutely destroying those behind them. They would finish in 4:23.51, which was over 10 seconds faster than second place. The men’s 4×400 relay team, consisting of Kain, Michael Orioles, Tristan Vargo and Hayden Lohmann would take third place in their event, finishing the race in 3:41.54. 

Antwan Kelly won the men’s discus event off of a 44.52m throw, while teammates Nate Florian would take second, with a toss of 43.46m, and Michael McNeil taking fifth, with a 38.84m throw. Sarah Florian and Gabrielle DeSanctis would also place in the top 5 in the women’s discus throw, as Florian finished in fourth with a 34.43m toss, and DeSanctis finished in fifth after a 31.04m throw. 

Men’s shot put would have a similar result to last week, as Hunter Logan had won the event again. He put up his season best, with a throw of 15.86m. Billy Mays III would finish third, with a throw of 13.61m, while Swavely would take fifth after his 12.76m toss. 

Women’s shot put would also have a top five finisher, as Duanena Graves threw a personal record of 10.69m, which put her in fourth place. 

Hammer throw, for both the men and the women, would be another successful event for the Pioneers. On the men’s side, Kelly would place second, with his 48.72m throw, with Swavely finishing in fifth as his throw totaled 43.36m. The women would find their own success, as Emilia Costello would finish in third, with her 40.43 throw, and DeSanctis would take fifth place after a 38.56 toss. 

The jumping events would have their fair share of Pioneer success as well. The men took home the top three spots, as Jack Rathburn would win the event after clearing 3.95m on his jump, with Andrew Wieder taking second place as he cleared 3.50m, and Brady Szekeres matching Weider, as he would take third place. Zuriel Wright would finish second in the men’s high jump event, as he was able to leap 1.95m high. Kaiden McCaskill would finish in fourth place as he jumped and cleared 1.80m, as Blake Hobin had matched him and would finish in fifth.

Both the men’s and women’s team would take home third place in the long jump event, Wright would end up in third place with his 6.65m jump and Nora Devitt matching his finishing position, as she jumped 5.09m. 

Women’s triple jump would be a winning event for the Pioneers, as the ladies would take three of the top four spots. Nora Devitt won the event with a 10.61m jump, Meade finished in second place after jumping 10.42m, and Zeniyah Gholson took fourth place after her 9.99m jump. Billinger took second place in the men’s triple jump event, as he jumped 13.14m. 

The teams have been successful in meets after the Spring Invitational as well. Their next event is on April 21 and 22 at SUNY Cortland.