UConn’s track and field teams kicked off the opening leg of their home meet series by sweeping the Dog Fight Invitational at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex on the weekend. The six-team event saw UConn bettering teams from Yale, Boston, Northeastern, Albany and Southern Connecticut.
Led by a double win from team captain Wellington Ventura, the men’s team outscored competition over 18 events, racking up 203 points to finish ahead of Albany (122), Southern Connecticut (115), Yale (91), Boston (69.5) and Northeastern (27.5).
The men’s 400 meters saw UConn going 1-2, with junior Wellinton Ventura taking the win just 46.68 seconds ahead of teammate Noah Woodman, who crossed the line in 47.31 seconds. Junior Markus Bagley stopped the clock at 49.00 seconds for fifth place.
Ventura returned for another win in the 200 meters, clocking 21.43 seconds, with Bagley finishing third with 22.01 seconds, and teammate Noah Woodman in fourth with 22.23 seconds.
The Huskies went 1-2-3 in the 5000 meters, won by senior James Maniscalco with a 14:23.50, clocking ahead of teammates Kevin Cawley and Christopher Lepore, who clocked 14:25.94 and 14:30.97, respectively. Freshman Terrel Williams got into form with a win in the 110 meters hurdles, clocking a new 13.98 seconds PR. The 1500 meters saw senior Joshua Bedard lead the UConn trio who placed third, fourth and fifth. Bedard completed his race with a 3:55.51, clocking ahead of teammates Samuel Geisler and Joseph Pearl who clocked 3:55.55 and 3:56.32, respectively. Freshman Mahamed Sharif finished fourth in the men’s 800 meters, while the men’s 100 meters saw sophomore Conor Mahony producing a 10.86 PR performance for fifth place. Mahony returned to join the trio featuring Josiah Thompson, Richard Kwaateng and Aaron Hackett to win the men’s sprint relay in 41.05 seconds.
Field competition was highlighted by a 1-2 finish in the pole vault, after juniors Travis Snyder and Tyler Hrbek led the field to produce best clearances of 5.05 meters and 4.90 meters respectively. Hrbek’s 4.90 meters mark equaled his best clearance this outdoor season. Javelin competition also saw UConn finishing 1-2, with seniors Tanner Jameson and Joseph Venables producing 63.08 and 58.18 meters as their best attempts. The jumps saw the Huskies producing three PR marks, with sophomore Richard Kwaateng winning the long jump with a 7.66 meters leap for a new PR, while freshman Kasey Savage also set a 7.02 meters PR. Savage returned for competition in the high jump, also setting a PR after clearing 2.03 meters, while senior Daniel Claxton, a shadow of his usual performances, managed a best clearance of 1.98 meters to finish fourth.
Senior Christopher Keegan produced a best throw of 59.03 meters in the hammer throw for second place, while classmate Matthew Brady finished fifth in the shot put, with a 16.15 meters attempt.
Women’s competition saw UConn scoring 223 points ahead of Yale (168), Albany (157), Northeastern (54), while Boston(47) and Southern Connecticut(28) finished in fifth and sixth, respectively. Highlighted by a home stretch kick from Sophia Castronovo in the 800 meters, the women produced 11 PR performances over the day of competition. Castronovo put on an impressive display to win the 800 meters, lowering her previous PR by four seconds with a 2:16.25 clocking ahead of Yale’s Kyra Pretre. Freshman Chloe Thomas led the Huskies to 1-2-3 finish in the 5000 meters, bettering her PR by 12 seconds to cross the line in 17:12.06. Junior Randi Burr clocked 17:14.84 for second place, while freshman Caroline Towle finished third in 17:24.23.
The 1500 meters saw UConn finishing 2-3-4, as junior Celia Chacko put on a career best 4:34.08 result, leading teammates Jenna Zydnowicz and Emma Krebbs, who clocked 4:35.39 and 4:35.61, respectively. Breaking from regular competition in the pentathlon, junior Emily Lavarnway took on the sprint hurdles on the weekend, where she finished second, clocking a new 14.43 seconds PR. Freshman Katelyn Reid also registered a new 14.86 seconds PR, finishing fourth. Classmate Brianna Davis made her debut in the 100 meters, with an 11.74 seconds clocking for a new PR.
In the 200 meters, freshman Raquel Rosa was third in a new 24.14 seconds PR, while classmate Jalah Cooper made her outdoor debut in the 400 meters, clocking 59.46 seconds for fifth. The 400 meters hurdles also saw another PR performance for UConn as freshman Gabby Davis clocked 1:03.88 for fourth place. Davis returned to complete the 4×400 meter relay quartet featuring Rosa, Lavarnway and Castronovo, who took second place with a 3:51.57 clocking.
In the field, junior Patricia Mroczkowski lived up to her standard in the high jump, clearing 1.80 meters for the third consecutive week this season to win the event. The pole vault was won by team captain Emma Chee, who managed a best clearance of 3.93 meters, while teammates Kalli Knott (3.63 meters) and Mallory Maltz (3.18 meters) finished third and fifth, respectively. UConn went 2-3 in the hammer throw, led by captain Mikyla Rodgers who produced a best of 56.90 meters, ahead of teammate Natalia Surdej who produced a 56.88 meters PR. The pair of Kelly Ward and Jasmine Barrow also went 2-3 in the long jump, with Ward’s best leap being 5.70 meters and Barrow recording a new 5.55 meters PR. Freshman Brynn Madonna placed herself among the day’s PR performances with a sixth place finish in the shot put, throwing a 12.91 meters for career best.
The teams will travel to Louisiana State University for the Joe May Invitational in the coming weekend. After that, they will return to Storrs to host the second leg of home meets when they host the Northeast Challenge on April 16.