The University of Rhode Island men’s and women’s track teams were very busy this past week, with the men’s team competing in two meets, while the women’s team participated in three. Both teams were at the Brown Invitational, as well as the George Mason Invitational, but the women’s team also went to the Connecticut College Silfen Invitational in addition to those two.
The men’s team did not perform at their usual high standard as they won just two events combined between the Brown and George Mason Invitationals.
“I didn’t have great expectations, it being only the second meet of the year in all,” Rhode Island men’s track and field head coach John Copeland said. “I thought we could have gotten some better performances, while some did very well. We are in trouble right now. We have a lot of work to do.”
At George Mason the Rams got a solid performance from senior James Strawderman, who for the third consecutive meet, won the pole vault. Strawderman cleared a height of 4.85 meters, which was good enough to qualify for IC4As later in the season.
Despite Strawderman having the only victory in his event at George Mason, there were also other performances worth noting, some of which earned the opportunity to compete in the IC4As later this season. The first was the 4 x 100-meter relay team of sophomore DeAngelo Berry and seniors Tyler Oliveira, Mike DiMambro and Jalen Young. They were able to put together a time of 41.62 seconds, which finished in fourth, while also qualifying them for the IC4As.
“We are still trying to find it right now,” Copeland said. “I thought we had very good performances at Brown, but I am hoping for better things this weekend.”
Other standouts included sophomore Jack Kahrs grabbing fourth in the high jump, sophomore Nick Danner placing fifth in the javelin, as well as sophomore Mahlik Handley and junior Alex Briggs finishing in third and fourth respectively in the hammer throw. All of these showings qualified them for the IC4As.
At Brown, there were fewer standout performances as just one person, freshman Jacob Reilly, finished inside the top three spots in their event. Reilly was able to clear 2.05 meters in the high jump, good enough for the win.
As for the women’s team, the Connecticut College Silfen Invitational saw just two Rams, senior Lauren Columbare and sophomore Courtney Hawkins, compete. Both performed well in the 5000-meter run with Hawkins able to achieve a third-place finish, while Columbare snagged sixth place.
Although Rhode Island didn’t send many participants to the George Mason Invitational, they had a successful showing. Once again junior Mariah Claudio competed well, finishing fourth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 56.08 seconds, as well as being part of the 4 x 400-meter relay team that had a time of 3:51.61. The latter time was successful enough to qualify for ECACs. The other members of the relay team were sophomore Dyshelle Pemberton, freshman Keilan Nova and senior Lauren Burke.
“We have aspirations of challenging the school record for the 4 x 400-meter relay team,” Rhode Island women’s track and field assistant coach John Melnick said. “If the preparation continues, and we put in the effort, I think we will get the times we want.”
The last of the meets URI attended was the Brown Invitational, in which the women’s team had a few top-three finishes. Among them was sophomore Brianna Robitaille, who had a time of 12.34 seconds to give her a second-place finish in the 100-meter dash.
In the pole vault, the Rams showed especially well with freshman Karlee Fowler and junior Ann Kelly grabbing second and third in the event, respectively. Fowler cleared the bar with a height of 3.1 meters, while Kelly was just behind her at three meters even.
“We are excited to go back to Yale,” Melnick said. “I think this upcoming meet will be a productive meet for us. I think that is important for us as we wind down in the season.”
Next on the schedule, both the men’s and women’s teams head to Connecticut on Saturday for the Yale Open.