Women’s track take home first outdoor win, men dominate the javelin at Bryant

Four top finishes over the weekend saw URI boast nationally-leading javelin scores. PHOTO CREDIT: gorhody.com

The University of Rhode track and field teams crowded the podium, set records, and topped leaderboards this past weekend in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Both URI track and field teams competed in the annual Bryant Black and Gold Invitational over the weekend. The two URI teams made headlines for a number of reasons: for the URI women it was their first win as a team this outdoor season. Coming into this weekend they had a number of season bests and personal bests set the prior weekend at the annual Raleigh Relays. This translated into a win this past weekend when URI finished with 154 points, which was well ahead of the second place UMass who finished with 114.5 points. 

They accumulated those points by winning the 4 x 100 meter relay with a time of 47.38 seconds. The team was led by fifth-year Trinity Smith, fourth-year Xiana Twombly, third-year Sydney Federico, and fifth-year Bethany DeLoof. Third-year Erynn Field finished in third place for the hammer throw with a toss of 52.64 meters and her teammate, third-year Megan Wood placed ninth of 41. 

A personal best mark that was shattered this past weekend was third-year Molly Sabia’s time in the 10,000 meter. Sabia set a new personal best at 37.31 minutes, breaking her old personal best by well over a minute. 

In the 400 meter, first-year Lily Saul reached the podium with a time of 57.95 seconds and her teammate, third-year Hannah Birdsall, placed 4th with a time of 58.08 seconds. All of these new personal bests and appearances on the podium racked up 154 points for head coach Laurie Feit-Melnick’s team and they would return from Smithfield with the first win of the season under their belts. 

For the men, the Bryant Black and Gold Invitational went a little differently. The team opted not to bring their sprinters, bringing just 10 of their 70 athletes. Even though they were depleted, URI still ended up making headlines as their javelin team would steal the show.

The five-man javelin team would see four of its members take the top four spots. Third-year Lucas Frost led the way with a toss of 70.59 meters and first-year Adam Dubois placed second (68.48 meters). Those results made URI the number one javelin team in the entire nation with an average throw of 66.60 meters. They are ahead of schools like Mississippi State, Rutgers, and Oregon. Head coach Trent Baltzell credits this group’s success to throwing coach Ben Carroll.

“I don’t think I could take all the credit for that, coach Carroll has done a great job with that group,” Baltzell said. “I don’t think I expected us to have a top group in any event.” 

Coach Baltzell certainly believes in his players, but it speaks to the magnitude of this accomplishment for the javelin squad. In coach Baltzell’s eyes, it’s a group effort, and he believes all of his javelin throwers have been putting in the work for months and it’s paying off.

“It’s all those guys, as a javelin group they really only get to shine for a month or two months out of the season,” said coach Baltzell. “When it’s their time to compete, they have to be at their best level, or else they’ll have to wait a whole year to prove to themselves and everyone else that they are worth all the time and effort.”

The results show that they are certainly at their best right now.. The group is led by Frost, who Balztell believes is the best javelin thrower the school has ever had, as he holds most of the top throws in program history. Frost, like his coach, believes in this group and views them as a tightly knit group. 

“We all put in a lot of work, we all try to help each other succeed, I love those guys,” said third-year Lucas Frost about his fellow javelin throwers. “We give each other constructive criticism because we’re just trying to get better.”

Frost has been with the team since 2019 and missed out on his first season due to covid. On the other hand, first-year Adam Dubois has only competed in two meets and is already making an impact. That might not seem out of the norm, but Dubois didn’t pick up a javelin until about a year ago. 

“He’s a special talent, it was pretty clear, he actually only picked up a javelin during April vacation of last year,” Baltzell said. “He hasn’t even been throwing for an entire year yet.”

Dubois has clearly impressed his team early in his collegiate career. His coach gave him a lot of credit for how much he has developed and his teammate Frost believes the sky is the limit for Dubois. 

Other URI competitors found the podium as well. In the shot put, third-year Chris Tavarone placed second with a mark of 15.90 meters. Johnathan Buchanan also placed second in the hammer with a toss of 56.26 meters.

The next meet for the URI men’s team is in Amherst, Massachusetts for the UMass spring Invitational this weekend, where the javelin group is unlikely to compete, meaning they will lose their number one spot. 

As for the URI women’s team they will be back in action on April 8 in Providence, Rhode Island for the Brown Invitational which starts at 10 a.m.