Track and Field: Huskies face toughest challenge yet at Valentine Invitational 


This weekend, the UConn Track and Field team will journey back to Boston University to compete at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational. Running from Friday to Saturday, the meet promises to be the Huskies’ biggest challenge to date. With powerhouses like Florida, Oregon and more coming from across the country, it will give UConn a good taste of the competition before conferences next weekend.  

Terrel Williams will have a highly anticipated rematch with Ethan Exilhomme from Northeastern in the 60 meter hurdles. The pair met at the Battle in Beantown earlier this year, where Exilhomme got to the line milliseconds before Williams. Williams has since matched Exilhomme’s personal record of 7.71 seconds, meaning that they will go into the meet this weekend with exactly the same best performance. Will the pressure get to them, or will the competition bring them to new heights? 

Also on the track, Wellington Ventura is seeded as the fastest male in the 400m out of a field of 290 athletes. The senior will match up against the likes of Tomas Kersulis of Cornell, who bested Ventura earlier in the season. Ventura has been knocking his season’s bests down each week like clockwork, suggesting that he may be able to take down Kersulis this weekend.  

A star athlete that may have an easier ride than Williams and Ventura is Travis Snyder. The UConn school record holder is seeded at the top of the pack for the pole vault by 16 centimeters, meaning that it would take a reasonable upset from Harvard’s Simon Park to defeat Snyder. Kalli Knott is also seeded at third place in the women’s vault, and the increased competition could be what takes her over the four meter barrier for the first time.  

Also set to be impressive in the field is Patricia Mroczkowski, who is competing in the women’s high jump. Her personal record of 1.86 meters puts her almost 10 centimeters above the rest of the competition. To be that far ahead of the competition at such a prestigious event is a testament to her dominance so far this year. 

With the competition being so impressive across the board, it is no surprise that the relays are set to be blistering. The UConn women’s 4×400 meter relay of Raquel Rosa, Emily Lavarnway, Jessica Starr and Caroline Rice are seeded seventh in a tough field. With 53 teams competing in this event, the Huskies will be aiming for somewhere near the podium. The men’s 4×400 has not run yet this season, so the quartet is not seeded for the race. The team of Wellington Ventura, Joseph O’Brien, Anish Rajamanickam and Mekhi Stone are set to finish around the top 10 out of the 60 teams competing, but perhaps a relay will bring out a stellar performance from the runners. 

FloTrack will be covering the David Hemery Valentine Invitational live on their streaming service. The action for the women kicks off at 11 a.m. on Friday, while the men will wait until 10 a.m. on Saturday to take to the track. 

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