Several school records fell and another athlete qualified for the regional track and field meet Friday and Saturday at the Fred Hardy Invitational, the season's only home meet for the University of Richmond track and field team.
Junior Andrew Benford placed second in the 3,000-meter in 8 minutes, 59.33 seconds to earn the qualifying standard for the South Regional Meet.
Benford said he was mildly surprised to hit the standard so early during the season because he suffered a hamstring injury in mid-January and redshirted the indoor track season.
Junior Heather Roush broke sophomore Monica Howard's shot put school record with a 45.23-meter throw. But Howard rebroke the record during the final round with a 45.60-meter throw. Women's coach Lori Taylor attributed the new school record to "good competition" between Roush and Howard.
Junior Amy Van Alstine also broke a school record, running 9:50.10 in the women's 3,000-meter run, which was good for second place.
"This is where we get a chance to bring high level competition," men's coach Steve Taylor said. "The athletes are highly motivated because they get to race in front of their families, their classmates, and other athletes."
Steve Taylor credited seniors Sean Welsh and Jeff Strojny with strong performances. Welsh won the men's 1,500-meter run in 3:55.25.
"I wanted to win for the home meet and represent Richmond," he said, adding that he was satisfied with his time but hopes to race faster later during the season.
Richmond hosted the meet -- the team's second of the season -- at Sports Backers Stadium in downtown Richmond instead of on campus, as has been the case for the past four years.
Strony placed third in the men's 800-meter run, missing a personal best by 0.08 seconds. He said the race was bittersweet.
"People are realizing that we have people who can run," Strojny said.
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Strojny attributed an improvement in team performance overall to coach Steve Taylor. He said that because Taylor cares about the athletes and knows a lot about them, the team has become more motivated.
For the women, freshman Meaghan MacGovern won the women's hammer throw in 50.36 meters, which was three meters second place.
Sophomore Nicol Traynor won the women's 1,500-meter run in 4:33.64 - six seconds ahead of the second place runner -- and established a new personal best. She said that Saturday had been a test of her training progress and that she planned to run under 9:45 in the 3,000-meter run at next week's Duke Invitational in North Carolina.
Steve Taylor said that the team's athletes were "on top of it," with their high motivation and competitiveness. He added that the athletes see the competitiveness in each other, which helps lead the younger athletes.
Contact staff writer Masato Tsuruta at firstname.lastname@example.org
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