Although most Boston University students were watching the men’s hockey team make its exciting run to a national championship this weekend, the BU men’s track team also took on some difficult competition a little farther south.
At the Spec Towns Invitational in Atlanta, Ga., BU held its own with teams like Purdue University, the University of Illinois, the University of South Carolina and host University of Georgia, squads that all come from traditionally powerful conferences.
BU coach Robyne Johnson said taking on SEC and Big Ten schools in Atlanta was a good experience for the team as it moves forward in its season.
‘We were looking to get some warm weather and some good competition,’ Johnson said. ‘I think we got both, and it will help us prepare going into conference play.’
The Terriers faced similarly strong teams at the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fla., two weeks ago. Johnson said the events in the South have allowed the team to grow in ways that it otherwise couldn’t.
‘We look forward to getting better and getting faster,’ Johnson said. ‘These tournaments have allowed us to learn something, and we also got a lot of good performances.”
The throwers on the team were among the good performers. Sophomore Dan Withrow finished 11th in both the shot put and hammer throw, and junior Jan Bicanic finished 12th in the same events, beating out competitors from the University of Connecticut, Purdue and South Carolina, among others.
The sprinters on the BU team also had a successful weekend. In the 400-meter run, freshman Tewado Latty’s time of 48.04 seconds was good for fourth place. Sophomore Joel Selnick came in behind Latty just over half a second later to finish in sixth place with a time of 48.59. Senior Charles Steinhauser and junior Max Esposito also placed well in the 400. Steinhauser came in eighth with a time of 49.00 seconds, and Esposito came in 12th at 49.88 seconds.
The 4-by-400-meter Terrier relay team of Esposito, Selnick, Steinhauser and Latty finished seventh with a time of 3 minutes, 16.74 seconds.
Freshman long distance runner Peter Gilmore tied Latty for the highest finish by a BU athlete in Atlanta. He came in fourth place in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:19.83. Senior Tom McLean finished eighth in the event at 16:26.55.
A pair of Terrier hurdlers set personal records in their events. Senior Jason Nardella ran the 110-meter hurdles in 14.92 seconds and junior Mark Mazzochette finished the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 55.41 seconds.
Three BU distance runners also traveled to Tempe, Ariz. this weekend for the Sun Angel Classic. Although Johnson said the meet did not go quite as well as the Spec Towns Invitational, she was optimistic about what it means for the team’s future.
‘It’s a learning process,’ Johnson said. ‘I always tell [my athletes], ‘People who don’t learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them.’ And I think we got some really good information from these meets that we can build on.’
Senior David Proctor had the top performance in Tempe. He finished 16th in the 1,500-meter run with a time of 3:50.59. A pair of Terrier juniors also ran in the 800-meter event. Freshman Balint Horvath finished 35th in a time of 1:54.21 and junior Jeff Moreau placed 40th with a time of 1:55.06.
Latty’s performance in the 400m and Proctor’s 1,500m time were good enough to qualify both for the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America Championships in Princeton, N.J. in May. The Terriers’ next competition will be the Connecticut Spring Invitational in Storrs, Conn. on Saturday.