Track and Field: Huskies return to Boston for explosive performances in Valentine Invitational  


The UConn men’s and women’s track and field teams wrapped up an explosive weekend with unprecedented performances at the Boston University David Hemery Valentine Invitational. While this weekend proved to house the fiercest competition with teams such as Northeastern, Boston University and Georgetown competing, the team continued to raise the bar as they set countless records and took home numerous top-five finishes.  

On the track, team frontrunner Terrel Williams proved that he is no stranger to heated competition. In the highly anticipated 60-meter hurdles, Williams battled it out with Ethan Exilhomme of Northeastern and Jayden Smith of Davidson for a third-place finish. With a time of 7.80 seconds, the sophomore has consistently proven that he is the sprinter to beat. Williams will be the athlete to watch as the team wraps up the indoor season at the Big East Championships in the upcoming weeks.  

Similarly, Richmond Kwaateng took home a first-place finish in the 60-meter invitational preliminaries with a time of 6.81 seconds. This accomplishment has tied Kwaateng for No. 10 all-time in the UConn record books. Also in the 60-meter, freshman Max Ringwall ran the event for the first time this season and finished in 7.44 seconds, an impressive feat for the versatile freshman.  

Likewise, the women brought exceptional performances to the table. Emily Lavarnway executed a flawless race in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.59. This performance earned Lavarnway a seat at the table in the UConn record books as she is now placed at No. 7 all-time.  

As for the 200-meter, competition from Princeton, Columbia and Harvard was relentless. However, Mia Dansby and Jaia James held their own and proved to be unfazed by their opponents. Dansby secured herself a 15th-place finish with a personal best of 24.72 seconds. James additionally broke her personal record with a time of 24.98. 

The 400-meter was the main event for the Huskies as five athletes broke personal records. For the men, top contender Wellington Ventura was seeded first out of 249 athletes. Ventura battled it out to place second with a time of 47.14 seconds, following on the heels of Tomas Kersulis of Cornell with a time of 45.78. In addition, sophomore Anish Rajamanickman earned a personal record of 49.15 and a place of 56 out of 246 athletes.  

The women brought the same heat to the 400-meter race as Jalah Cooper (56.75), Jessica Starr (57.55), Gabrielle Davis (58.34) and Caroline Rice (59.29) all broke personal records. Cooper, Starr, Davis and Rice all placed within the top half of athletes.  

Looking towards longer distance events, the 800-meter race secured four athlete’s personal records. Celia Chacko placed 76th out of 248 athletes with a personal record of 2:12.23. As for the men, Samuel Geiser (1:53.11), Josh Stone (1:54.61) and Zachary Barry (1:56.09) all demonstrated remarkable finishes.  

Adding to the accolades, senior Christopher Lepore finished the 5000 with a time of 14:00.21. This achievement will earn Lepore a seat at the table of UConn star-athletes, placing him in the books at No. 3 all-time. Comparably, junior Kabir Chavan is closely on Lepore’s tail with a time of 14:18.60 and is No. 7 all-time at UConn. The two 5000 runners will be a duo to keep an eye on as the team rings in the 2022-2023 indoor season at the Big East Championships. This season’s records suggest it may be possible for either athlete to bring in a No. 1 title.  

Passing the baton to the relays, the men’s 4×400 meters ran for the first time this season with a time of 3:13.35 and an 8th-place finish. Anish Rajamanickman, Joseph O’Brien, Wellington Ventura and Mekhi Stone exhibited an all-star lineup to put the relay in the books for the 2022-2023 indoor season.  

The women’s 4×400 meters made sure to match the stellar lineup of men with an equally impressive group of female frontrunners. Jessica Starr, Emily Lavarnway, Jalah Cooper and Raquel Rosa ran a time of 3:44.89 and earned themselves a fifth-place finish.  

The field athletes made sure to carry the exceptional momentum from the track. Travis Snyder was able to add another first-place finish to his resume with a pole vault of 5.35m. Similarly, Patricia  Mroczkowski earned gold with a first-place high jump of 1.76m.  

Other stellar accomplishments of the weekend include Kasey Savage (long jump), Sinclaire Fryer (shot put) and Kevin Cetin (weight throw).  

This past weekend finished off the regular season with a bang. As the Huskies look to the Big East Championship in the upcoming weeks, their performances this season have been a true testament to the hardworking nature of the team. 

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