The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Track and field underclassmen stand out at Lehigh Invitational

Rachel Hurley ’23 and Nina McCloskey ’26 compete in the steeple chase at the Lafayette-Lehigh dual meet. (Photo courtesy of Lily Dineen ’24)

The track and field team came home from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania this weekend with 19 top-five finishes, many of which came from freshmen and sophomores. The Leopards represented one of eight teams to run at the Lehigh Invitational this past Friday and Saturday.

On the track, sophomore AJ Sanford and freshman Elena Malone led the Leopards with second and fourth-place finishes in the 800m and 400m, respectively. Sanford ran a 1.56.46 and Malone a 57.70, both marking personal bests.

Freshman Maeve Waldron had a 58.36 second PR in her seventh-place finish in the 400m. Freshman Kira Marr and freshman Nina McCloskey finished the 1500m in 4.51.52 and 4.55.21 respectively, also marking their best performances at Lafayette. In addition, sophomore Angel Awono had personal bests in two hurdle events, the 100m and 400m. 

There were four PRs in the women’s 200m dash from freshmen Shayla Ward and Lauren Thomas, as well as junior Emily Bone and senior Roxane Bolon.

Sanford said his performance was a “decent stepping stone for the rest of the season,” crediting the training of first-year Coach Anthony Dentino.

“We are beginning to see our hard work pay off,” Sanford said of the team.

The medley of freshmen John Pfisterer, Quinn Worrell and Roman Conca as well as sophomore Ryan Moore took home second in the men’s 4 x 400m with a time of 3.24.08. 

Women’s throws stood out on the field, with second-place finishes from senior Solape Fakorede in discus and sophomore Erin O’Leary in the hammer throw. O’Leary’s performance was one of two personal bests in the hammer, as junior Elizabeth Desmet also put up a PR of 45.07m in her fourth-place finish.

O’Leary said of her second-place finish that “it wasn’t perfect,” but “it gave me a few specific things to work on that should help me.”

On the team’s success, O’Leary added that “people seem to keep bettering their marks and times.”

For the men, senior Andrew Swiniarski impressed with a PR of 55.96m in the hammer throw, earning him second place. Sophomore Jack Lynett and freshman Ben Hill achieved second and third in the pole vault, both clearing a height of 13′ 11.25”.

Swiniarski said of his event group’s performance that “the throws and vaults have been doing really well, with multiple all-time top ten performances only halfway into our outdoor season.”

Swiniarski credited much of the team’s success to teammates in their first or second seasons.

“So many of our top performers this year are only in their first or sophomore year,” Swiniarski said of his younger peers, adding that he is “optimistic for the future.”

Sanford also noted the importance of younger team members contributing and improving. 

“Strong performances from underclassmen show the other Patriot League teams that were hungry and are here to compete for a long time to come,” Sanford said. “We have a lot of emerging leaders and passionate athletes in class of 2025/2026 and I think everyone is excited for what the future holds.”

“Contributions from the younger second years are really important to keep team performance at a high level,” O’Leary said. “Being able to compete in the league this young is important for the team in the future.”

This weekend, the Leopards will have another chance to compete at the Bison Outdoor Classic at Bucknell.

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Benjamin Dupont
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