The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Indoor track and field places second at MAAC Championships, still hunting for elusive title

Peyton McKenzie
Sophomore Elise Barricelli (right) hands a baton to senior Asia Mercier during the women’s distance medley relay on day one of the MAAC Championships at The Armory in New York on Feb. 24

 NEW YORK — It would’ve taken near perfection for Quinnipiac to pull off an upset over defending conference champion Rider in this weekend’s MAAC indoor track and field championships at The Armory in Manhattan.

The Bobcats didn’t achieve perfection — few rarely do — but they still managed to excel on the track and in the jumps, winning six events and scoring 153 points for a decisive second-place finish only to the Broncs’ 179.5.

It’s the fourth-straight season and sixth time since joining the MAAC in 2013 that Quinnipiac has finished runner-up. The program is still searching for its first conference title in track and field.

“Each year is a little different and sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don’t,” head coach Carolyn Martin said. “I think we had a chance to go after it and some things didn’t go quite like we had anticipated and that’s okay.”

Midway through the second day of competition, it seemed like things were going in the Bobcats’ favor.

Bolstered by a day one upset in the high jump by freshman Shaelyn Murphy, Quinnipiac pulled off early day two victories by senior Alessandra Zaffina in the mile and sophomore Nyasia Dailey in the 60m to close in on Rider’s lead.

Quinnipiac freshman Shaelyn Murphy clears 1.63m to win a jump off against Rider’s Savanna Marcantonio for the MAAC title on Feb. 24 


Then junior Rylie Smith stepped on the track, first repeating as MAAC champion in the 400-meter before doubling up with another gold in the 200m.

“I knew since we had a really short break after that before the (200m), I had to give it everything I had,” Smith said.

Smith’s performance, later supplemented by another win in the 4x400m relay, earned her honors as the meet’s Most Outstanding Track Performer.

“She’s tremendous, she doesn’t really get frazzled,” Martin said. “She just stays steady and she goes and she does what she knows she can do.”

Smith’s wins helped the Bobcats leapfrog Rider on the scoreboard, while podium finishes for freshman Ashlynn Witt in the 800m and sophomore Sydney Lavelle in the 60m hurdles drove their lead to double digits.

Quinnipiac maintained its lead into the 3000m, where 6-7-8 finishes from seniors Corinne Barney, Zaffina and Liv DiStefano measured up with a third place finish for Broncs’ junior Jordan O’Neill.

But it wasn’t enough cushion to survive the final hour of the meet, where Rider took a combined 43 points to the Bobcats’ two in the shot put and triple jump and created an insurmountable gap with just the relays left to run.

“After like the 200’s, I thought ‘O.K., we’ve got a shot,” Martin said. “But then it started to get a little further away from us. We don’t really have a throws program right now, so that’s something that I’d love to be able to grow and that would help us as well. Having those throws come in really just pushed the hammer on us and that hurt.”

Coming up short doesn’t discredit the success Quinnipiac saw on the weekend. In addition to the six event wins, 20 athletes put points on the board and 17 recorded personal bests, including freshman Olivia DeBellis, who broke the school record in the pole vault with a 3.60m clear.

It took that collective effort to put the Bobcats in contention, establishing a more than 50-point lead on third place Mount St. Mary’s.

“I love being in the hunt, and that’s all that I ask of these ladies,” Martin said. “It makes it so much more fun when you can be in the hunt in a championship.”

Entering the outdoor season, that’s exactly where the Bobcats remain — in the hunt, biding their time again after being forced to watch Rider swag surf and do the worm across the infield like it owns it. For now, the Broncs do. But little by little, this roster — already comprised of two dozen MAAC cross country champions — is discovering what it takes to do the same on the track.

“I think that we fought really hard. We did everything we could,” Smith said. “Hopefully for outdoors, we’ll come back stronger.”

“We’re hungry, this group is hungry, and they want to be in the hunt every time,” Martin said. “So that’s the plan, keep going after it.”


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

Comments (0)

All The Quinnipiac Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *