Although the sport is frequently noted for its individual focus, the Boston University track and field team proved at the IC4A/ECAC Championships this weekend that there is always room for teamwork on the track.
Exactly eight days after breaking a school record that was untouched for 10 years, freshman David Lagerberg, seniors Tewado Latty and R.J. Page and graduate student Zachary Ray combined again to post an even faster time in the men’s 4x400m relay Sunday afternoon. The time of 3:08.41 was more than a second faster than the 3:09.45 that the quartet posted at the New England Championships Feb. 23.
The record time was good for second place, behind George Mason University, which won the event with a time of 3:07.86. BU’s time ranks 25th best in the nation.
“It’s rewarding to see the guys produce that,” said Assistant Director of track and field Bruce Lehane. “It’s a great team effort. Track and field is such an individual sport that on the relay, it gives a chance for people to help each other and have a little bit more of a team aspect to it. They competed very well.”
But the men were not the only Terriers to break a relay record this weekend. Senior Julia Mirochnick, junior Carolyn Maynard, sophomore Gemma Acheampong and freshman Jade Paul broke the women’s 4x400m relay record Saturday afternoon with a time of 3:47.14.
“The girls, it was wonderful to see them get the school record as well,” Lehane said.
Individually, several Terriers fared quite well. Latty placed second in the men’s 400m dash, running a conference-best time of 46.86 seconds.
“That was fantastic for Tewado,” Lehane said. “He finished really strong, he came off the final curve and just flew.”
Ray continued his trend of strong performances by placing third in the 60m hurdles with a season-best time of 7.91 seconds, and placing second in the long jump (7.18m). In the high jump, junior Connor Sullivan placed fifth with a jump of 2.06m.
Senior Matt Paulson also picked up four points for the Terriers with a fifth-place finish in the 3,000m run. Paulson’s time of 8:09.41 is the best in the conference.
With a team score of 37.5 points, the BU men finished in third place, trailing only the University of Connecticut (104 points) and Cornell University (57.5 points).
For the women, seniors Nikko Brady and Nikki Long contributed points individually. Brady placed fourth in the long jump, with a mark of 5.81m, and added a seventh-place finish in the finals of the 60m hurdles (8.66 seconds).
Lehane praised Brady’s performance over the weekend.
“Nikko consistently is one of the better athletes on the East Coast,” Lehane said. “She’s been slightly held back by some foot issues, but once she can stay healthy for more than a couple of weeks … she’s getting quicker over the hurdles and jumping further in the long jump, and she’s a very steady competitor.”
Long, arguably the most improved runner for BU this season, continued the best season of her career by posting a personal-best time of 4:51.34 in the mile run, placing sixth.
“It’s Nikki’s fourth year, and usually you don’t associate that with major breakthroughs,” Lehane said. “But her best mile time last year was 5:18, and this year she’s running 4:51. That’s a 27-second drop. … It’s great. It’s great to watch. I was really happy and proud of her to see that.”
The women placed 32nd as a team thanks to the ten points from Brady and Long.
With NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend, where graduate student Katie Matthews will compete in the 3,000m and 5,000m run and senior Allison Barwise will compete in the high jump, outdoor season is just around the corner.
Lehane said that outdoor season will bring new opportunities and return a few familiar faces.
“Some of the people will be going to their primary events,” Lehane said. “We’ll also be getting [junior] Rich Peters back.”
Peters, the top miler in BU history, sat out during the indoor season, and will certainly give the Terriers a boost as they transition to the outdoors.
While BU is unable to compete in the America East this season, Lehane said that his team is focused on the bigger picture.
“Given that we don’t have a conference now, we kind of are getting a little more focused on a bigger regional approach,” Lehane said. “We have the personnel to carry that through.”