Huskies overmatched at Sykes-Sabok Challenge Cup

By Adam Riglian

The men’s track team entered Friday and Saturday’s Sykes-Sabok Challenge Cup at Pennsylvania State expecting some great times, but despite a good start, were unable to gain any traction at the elite meet.

“We did not handle the meet, the meet handled us,” said head coach Sherman Hart. “Some of it was stage fright, some of it was trying too hard. We couldn’t relax.”

The meet got off to a strong start after junior Bamidele Faboyede finished seventh in the weight throw with a throw of 60 feet, 1 inch. The throw set a new personal best for Faboyede, breaking his old mark by two feet.

Distance runner Tom Brown ran a 4:18 mile, good for 11th place, and team captain Christian Tirella qualified for IC4A Indoor Track ‘ Field Championship in the 400-meter with a 49.28, taking eighth place.

Pennsylvania State is rumored to have a fast track, and it was as fast as anticipated Hart said, but the team’s strong performances ended there, with a combination of bad luck and pressure.

Injury-riddled Conrad Dalton came into the meet peaked and healthy after overcoming a few nagging aches and pains throughout the season. He finished ninth in the 400-meter with 49.32, a disappointing time considering his pace in the event.

“He was in great position until he got clipped,” Hart said. “I thought he did really well, staying in and still running a 49. I can’t blame him for what happened.”

The quarter-mile was a stumbling block for other Huskies later in the meet as well.

The 4×400 relay team finished in eighth place, running significantly below their best with a time of 3:20.11.

Jose Fernandez, who has also battled injuries all season, pulled a hamstring with 80 meters left in his leg of the race. While he managed to finish, he came into the handoff at a snail’s pace.

Sophomore Nate Hunter would have finished in the top three if he threw the shot his normal distance, but instead fouled out of the event.

Freshman vaulter Jordan Thull took backward steps after breaking the school’s pole vaulting record last week. His height of 15-feet, 9-inches earned him a ninth-place finish, but it was 1 foot, 3 inches shy of the mark he set last week.

“We are going to make somebody pay for this next time out,” Hart said, mentioning teams the Huskies will face at the New England Championships two weeks from now.

“This is a meet I usually skip, but I feel like our team needs to get its passion back for competing,” Hart said.

The New England Championships will be held Feb. 23 and 24 at Boston University.

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