The Collegian
Wednesday, May 25, 2022


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Spiders host Fred Hardy Invitational, set records

The University of Richmond played host to the Fred Hardy Invitational this weekend after a two-year hiatus. The Spiders men's and women's track and field teams won nine events.

On Friday, the first day of the invitational, redshirt senior Andrew Benford was the lone victor for the men's team. Benford was able to finish first in the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 8:56.87, which set the meet record.

"[Benford] set one of the very fastest times, certainly one of the top five times in the nation for the steeplechase," Richmond men's coach Steve Taylor said.

The women's team sported three winners on day one, including senior Nicol Traynor, junior Beth Kelly and junior Meaghan McGovern. Traynor set a meet record with a time of 4:31.17 in the 1,500m run. Kelly's and McGovern's victories came in the 5,000m run and hammer throw, respectively.

Day two saw the men's team have its second first-place finisher, as redshirt senior Matt Llano set a stadium and meet record for the 3,000m run in 8:17.35.

"[We] just need to continue with our training and move forward to the end of the season when we want to peak and be at our best," Taylor said. "Our team is on schedule to have some great performances this season if they continue training hard the way they are."

Four victories were captured by the women's team on Saturday. McGovern won her second event of the weekend, while redshirt seniors Amy Van Alstine and Heather Roush captured their first. Also victorious was the women's 4x800m relay team composed of Alli Mannon, Amanda Lineberry, Andi DeFonce and Traynor.

"We just need to keep our momentum going," Lori Taylor, Richmond women's head coach, said. "Overall, we just wanted to see them compete. It's very early in the outdoor season, so we've got to keep that enthusiasm and competitiveness going."

The Fred Hardy Invitational, named after former Richmond track and field coach Fred Hardy, was held at the newly built Robins Stadium for the first time. The event had been held at the University of Richmond before, but not since 2008 due to construction.

"It went fantastic," Lori Taylor said. "We were just so excited to finally bring the meet back to campus after the last two years being off. Last year, we didn't have the event at all and two years ago, we did it over at VCU, so the anticipation was pretty high."

Other than Richmond, the participating teams included George Mason University, George Washington University, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia and The College of William & Mary, among others.

"This meet set the standard," Steve Taylor said. "When you look at what our sports information office was able to do with the video feeds, live from the stadium to the internet, there's not but a couple schools in the country that could do what happened here this weekend. It was received extremely well."

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