Records were broken this weekend as the University of Rhode Island women’s track and field team traveled to Boston to compete in the Bruce Lehane Scarlet and White Invitational.
One of the five URI athletes featured in the invitational was Hanna O’Connor, a fifth-year student, who smashed her personal best mile time by six seconds. She finished in 35th place with a time of 4:55.83. In only her first year of running the mile at URI, she now sits at 4th all-time in the program’s history.
“I was seated to run right around that time so my coach is happy,” O’Connor said. “We were all happy, but it felt good. I’m finally happy that like in my fifth year, I can start to break some of these records and get my name on the all-time list, which has been a goal of mine. Which is great.”
Laurie Feit-Melnick, URI women’s track and field coach, recognized and appreciated what O’Connor brings to the team as a graduate student.
“Hannah just brings a ton to the team.” Feit-Melick said. “She’s just an amazing role model. She’s been my cross-country captain. She’s been our track captain last year and during this fifth year. So she is a wonderful leader and a student-athlete.”
The team broke more records with Sydney Federico, a fourth-year, setting a season-best time of 1:16.68 and winning her 500-meter heat. “ Yes, Sydney ran really well,” said Feit-Melnick. “She ran a season best and that’s a New England NACAC [ National Association for College Admission Counseling] time. Really exciting, she’s running well.” Federico finished less than half a second off a top-10 pace, finishing 13th overall.
The records didn’t end with O’Connor and Federico because Madeline Till, a first-year student, also broke her personal record. Till competed in the 1000 meter and finished 15th overall with a time of 2:57.11. “She did run a PB in New England in ECAC [Eastern College Athletic Conference] time of a thousand [1000 meters] and that was 2:57.11 so that was nice to see,” Feit-Melnick said.
Erin Hurley, a third-year student, also competed in the 1000 meter and finished with a time of 3:01.16, which placed her in 19th.
Despite URI’s performances, all was not perfect for the Rams. Lily Saul, a second-year, took a knock and was unable to finish her mile run. According to Feit-Melnick she tripped on the curving, however she is all and well.
Overall, the Rhody women finished the Scarlet and White Invitational with two new personal bests and a historic run by Hanna O’Connor. Now, all eyes look towards Friday with the team heading back to Boston on Feb. 9 for the David Hemery Valentines Classic.