The Mary Washington track and field team ran past the competition with several strong finishes last weekend at the Lynchburg College Invitational on Saturday, April 9, in Lynchburg, Va.
On the men’s side, senior Scott Matthiessen ran the 400-meters in 51.60, junior Chris Marino finished first in the 3000-meter steeplechase with an impressive time of 9:44.37, freshman David Justis finished the 1500-meter race at 4:07.88 and senior Matt Geller notched a fourth place finish in the shot put.
The women were equally strong in their competition. Senior Amanda Zapata had a fourth place finish in the javelin throw, measuring 98 feet and 11 inches. Senior Sarah Dawes finished fourth in the 1500-meters at 4:51.79, while sophomore Michelle Sutherland ran the 400-meters in 1:08.73 and freshman Kaytlen Keller ran the 400-meters in 61.86 seconds.
Coach Stan Soper was pleased with the performance from both sides.
“We’ve had better weather, which helped,” Soper said. “It wasn’t as cold as it’s been, it wasn’t as rainy as it’s been, it wasn’t as windy as it’s been. We really ran together well.”
Matthiessen was equally pleased with the performance by both teams.
“The team as a whole has put in a lot of work in practice,” Matthiessen said. “We hit a turning point about midway through the season and we’re really performing at our best now.”
The strong finish came on the heels of Geller being named a Capital Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week for the week of March 29. Geller notched three fifth-place finishes in at the Washington & Lee/VMI Carnival in the shot put (42-2), discus (124-5), and hammer throw (152-11) to be named the Men’s Field Athlete of the Week.
With the team heading into the Capital Athletic Conference Championship this coming Saturday, April 16, the level of focus and motivation will have to be optimal for success.
“Our team has been more motivated the last half of the year,” Matthiessen said. “The team has come together, there’s team unity, and the leadership has gotten the team to a good point in the season. We’ll need heart and determination to really go far.”
Coach Soper echoed the sentiment of his athlete.
“All of the regular season meets lead to the conference championship,” Soper said. “We’ve seen progression week to week, and we’re really running together well. We just hope to get as healthy as possible before Saturday’s meet. We’re in a good place at this point. It’s up to them now.”
The Capital Athletic Conference Championship will take place this Saturday at York College in York, Pennsylvania.