Track & field teams dominate first ever Coach I Open, poised for conferences

BY JONATHAN PRESSMAN ’14
Senior Staff Writer

Strong performances were recorded across the board as the men’s and women’s track & field teams hosted the first-ever “Coach I” Open Saturday in Lancaster.

Several Diplomats broke personal bests, and both teams are poised for next week’s Centennial Conference Championship meet.

On the men’s side, Taaj Amin ’15 struck gold twice, capturing first-place in both the 55-meter and 200-meter dashes, with times of 6.62 and 23.69, respectively.

First-years Brad Krell ’16 and Teddy Uzamere ’16 also took first in their events, as Krell ran a 52.89 in the 400-meter dash, and Uzamere leaped to a personal best of six feet in the high jump.

The sophomore duo composed of brothers Luk ’15 and Greg Olenginski ’15 took the top two spots in the 1000-meter run, followed closely by Derek Pawlush ’15.

The women’s team, led by captain Sheena Crawley ’13, was equally impressive. Crawley shattered a school and conference record in the 1000-meter run with a time of 2 minutes 52.52 seconds, nearly 13 seconds faster than second-place finisher Laura Warren of Richard Stockton.

Samantha Walmer ’15 took first in the 55-meter hurdles, while Ariel Lefkovits ’13 and Olivia Bendit ’16 dominated in the 400 and 200-meter dashes, both finishing in first. In the field, first-years Rebecca Swisher ’16 and Morgan Gray ’16 took the individual titles in the pole vault and triple jump.

The women’s 800-meter run was all F&M, as a pack of Diplomats led by Larissa Kehne ’16 were the first four to cross the finish line.

The meet was held in memory of F&M hall of famer and coaching legend Bill Iannicelli ’48, who passed away in the Fall of 2011.

Men’s captain and All-American Nils Michaelis ’13 was sidelined due to a hamstring injury, but was pleased with the team’s effort at home.

“There were some great performances for our home meet just in time to get ready of the championships” Michaelis said.

Amin, who sits atop the individual conference rankings in the 60-meter dash, is hoping to qualify for the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships with his performance at next week’s championships.

“I feel really excited about conferences,” Amin said. “I need to apply what I’ve learned this season from all the coaches, as well as my outstanding captain, Nils Michaelis. Also, as the indoor season is coming to a close, I’ve noticed we have a lot of real talent on the team. Almost everyone I know has had at least one meet of the season where they’ve really shined. If we can harness that talent at Ursinus next week I think we’ll put up some big numbers and it’ll give us great momentum for the outdoor season.”

Amin was also grateful for the support provided by classmates, family, and friends; the event marked the first indoor meet hosted by F&M in three years.

“I feel like the difference today was the home field advantage. We had support from the student body, a lot of families of the athletes came out, and President Porterfield, who was a pleasure and an inspiration to have rooting for us. Generally, I think it was a good day for the F&M track teams.”

As the teams prepare for the pinnacle of the indoor season, expectations will be high, and the underclassmen will be relied upon to turn in their best results yet.

Questions? Email Jonathan at jpressma@fandm.edu.

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