Blincoe, Hayden run sub-four-minute miles

Leslie Combs

Success followed both the men and women’s track and field team on its trip last weekend to the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York City.

Dubbed the fastest track in the northeast, the Armory Track and Field Center was built in 1909 as a training center for the National Guard before becoming a venue for many of the city’s big events, track and field meets included. Economic tides altered the usage of the facility in the 20th century, but in the late 1990s, the building once again became home to both national and international track competitions at all levels. This past weekend’s meet marks the second time the annual meet has been held on the historic Armory’s 200-meter banked track.

On Friday, the women’s distance medley relay team of sophomore Ioana Parusheva, junior Melanie Rhoden, junior Rebecca Mitchell and freshman Marina Muncan took second to top-ranked North Carolina. The newcomer’s strong anchor finished the ’Cats in 11:14.13 behind the Tar Heels’ 11:08.56. ’Nova’s final kick gave it the edge it needed to outrun Big East rival Georgetown, which finished close behind in 11:14.95. South Carolina finished a distant fourth in 11:46.29.

Muncan continued to impress the track and field community, finishing fourth in the one-mile run. Her time of 4:44.23 qualified her provisionally for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships March 14-15 in Fayettville, Ark. Parusheva also ran a solid one-mile performance and placed sixth in 4:49.04. Sophomore Hilary Edmondson of Wisconsin won the event in 4:43.10.

Strong individual performances also came from sophomore Kirsty Smith’s third place finish in the 3,000m run in 9:39.06 and rookie Yolanda Malcolm’s seventh place finish in the 60m hurdles final in 8.73 seconds.

Senior Adrian Blincoe and junior Ryan Hayden stole the show once again for the men. Both ran sub four-minute miles to capture first and second in the event. In the lead going into the final stretch, Blincoe was able to hold off a challenge from his teammate to cross the line first in 3:59.3, while Hayden finished close on his heels in 3:59.7. Michael Baird of Princeton took third in 4:02.7. ’Nova’s top two times earned both athletes an automatic trip to Arkansas in March for the Indoor Nationals.

Senior Tom Parlapiano notched the other victory for the ’Cats, winning the 3,000m in 8:07.13, provisionally qualifying him for the upcoming nationals. Parlapiono gained the lead with three laps remaining and finished a comfortable 30 meters ahead of runner-up Kevin Barra of Texas who finished in 8:10.07.

“It was nice to see,” men’s head coach Marcus O’Sullivan said. “We just wanted him to run well, and he looked very comfortable out there.”

Although the wins at the Armory were important for the men, the main objective for the weekend was to gain experience and log more race time for the upcoming meets, specifically the Big East Indoor Track and Field Championships in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday and Sunday.

Going into the meet both the men and women look strong, but neither is the favorite to take home the title. The men started the season slow due to knee injuries, and the season loss of Jon Fasulo set the ’Cats back 10 conference points. However, the overall quality of ’Nova’s squad remains intact and O’Sullivan is confident the men will perform well this weekend.

“I am optimistic,” O’Sullivan said. “I think we have a pretty good chance to be competitive.”