Track and Field Hosts Roadrunner Invitational

The Roadrunners made a rare trip home last weekend to host the Roadrunner Invitational. In the track and field team’s second of three meets at Ramapo this season, the women captured first place while the men finished in fourth.

The women’s team reigned supreme in a field of 23 teams with 110.5 total points, 1.5 points higher than second-place Temple University. Although the men more than doubled the fifth-place school’s score with 81 points, they still trailed Manhattan College, who dominated the event with a team score of 160.5.

Freshman Emily Shipley’s 3.68-meter jump won the pole vault, qualified her for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Outdoor Championships and set a new personal best. Juniors Amber Updike and Courtney Schofield each placed third in the 800-meter run and 500-meter run, respectively.

In her first semester at Ramapo, sophomore Christa McLeod broke a school record in the 1,500-meter with a time of 4:57.55. McLeod, who transferred to Ramapo from the University of Tampa, said her goal was to break five minutes in her first 1,500-meter run at Ramapo.

Previously a member of Tampa’s Division II team, McLeod raved about her positive transition to Ramapo. Where everything was “all for the sake of the team” at her old school, she said Ramapo’s coaching staff encourages individuals to flourish and offer feedback.

“There’s more of a sense of camaraderie,” McLeod said. “I was definitely welcomed. It was a pleasant change.”

Despite hurting her foot over the weekend, McLeod hopes it’s nothing some ice can’t heel as she continues her hunt to qualify for ECACs (her last time fell eight seconds short).

A week after setting a school record in the 3,000-meter run, junior Colin English broke another Ramapo mark in the 1,500-meter race. English’s time of 3:58.36 earned him third place and qualified him for ECACs.  He also teamed up with senior Tom Bohlin, and freshmen Paul Juelis and Matt Orozco to win first place in the 4×800-meter relay.

Throughout the year, English has battled nagging hamstring injuries. He was forced out of action near the end of last semester’s cross-country season, costing him a shot at qualifying for the Nationals. English said the ailments, which are not completely healed, have forced him to proceed with more caution, even though that contradicts all of his instincts as a runner.

“My primary goal was to finish the race without injury,” English said. “Finishing the race and showing any improvement is all I can hope for.”

While English’s primary concern rests with the team winning the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship, he also hopes to qualify for Nationals for the first time.

“It’s always on the back of my mind,” English said. “You don’t want to settle for mediocrity.”

Head coach Mike Jackson noted that some of the competitors who did not partake in indoor track are still dusting off the cobwebs. Senior Tim Paziora finished second in the steeplechase and senior Katie Walsh teamed up with juniors Chelsea Clark and Amber Updike, and sophomore Rachel Herrick to post Ramapo’s best time in the 4×400-meter relay this season. Jackson is counting on both the men and women to gain momentum throughout the season.

“The expectations are that we continue to produce,” Jackson said.

The Roadrunners will host the Metropolitan Outdoor Championships this weekend on Friday and Saturday in the year’s last home event. After that, they have three more meets on the schedule before fighting for the NJAC Championships on May 4.

Jackson’s sights are set on both squads winning the NJAC. Last season, the men claimed second place and the women came in at third.

“They’re going to be tough tasks, but I think we have an opportunity to do that,” Jackson said.

McLeod likes the women’s chances since the team has been producing points across the board in both sprints and distance events.

“We seem to be more balanced,” McLeod said. “It looks like we stand a good chance.”