FAIRFIELD, CT (March 31, 2013) – The Sacred Heart track & field teams sent athletes to opposite ends of the country to compete this weekend. SHU head coach Christian Morrison sent three of the Pioneers top-runners to compete at the Stanford University Invitational while another faction turned solid results at the Dick Shea Open held at Army in West Point, NY.
SHU senior Alyssa Selmquist (Northford, CT) and juniors Patrick Peterson (Gloversville, NY) and Brianna Castrogivanni (Commack, NY) made the trip to Northern California and turned in record breaking performances Friday night.
Peterson won his section of the 1500 meters in 3:44.39, which was placed him seventh overa in the meet. His performances was highlighted by moving from fourth to first over the last 400 meters clocking in at 55.9 seconds on the final straightway. Peterson beat his old personal best of 4:01.16, which he set last spring, and easily beat the IC4A qualifying standard of 3:51.00. And his time converts to 4:02.27 for the full Mile distance. He also broke the Sacred Heart school record in the 1500 meters of 3:52.21 set by Jeffrey Lusignan in 2011.
In addition, he ran exactly five seconds faster than the Northeast Conference Championship record for the event of 3:49.39, which was set by Monmouth's Ford Palmer in 2012. Peterson currently ranks fourth in the NCAA East Region in the 1500. The top -48 entries in each region (East and West), for each individual event will earn bids to the NCAA Regional Championship. In 2012 the cut-off for entry in the East Regional meet was 3:46.26, giving Peterson a promising chance for a spot in the meet. He also qualified in the 800 meters in 2012, and will attempt to qualify in that event in the coming weeks.
Selmquist finished 14th out of 34 entries in her section of the 10,000 meters with a time of 34:58.98. She demolished her old personal best and school record of 37:25.72 by nearly two and a half minutes. She set the old record while placing second in last spring's NEC Championship. She ran the first 5000 meters of the race in 17:19, and hung on to run the second 5000 of the grueling event in 17:39.
She is the first woman in Northeast Conference history to break 35 minutes in the event. The previous best time by an NEC athlete was 35:33.47 by Monmouth's Jennifer Nelson in 2012. She also finished well under the NEC Championship record of 36:19.44, which was set by St. Francis (PA)'s Taryn Gibson in 2007. Selmquist currently ranks 16th in the NCAA East Region, and looks to be a lock to advance to the NCAA Regionals in late May. In 2012 the time cut-off for Regionals in the women's 10,000 was 35:34.83. She also finished way under the ECAC qualifying standard of 37:40.24.
Castrogivanni ran a breakthrough race in the 3000 meter steeplechase, crossing the line in 10:40.24, breaking her old personal best of 11:11.30. Her time was the second fastest in school history behind only Katie Wrinkle's 2004 standard of 10:29.37. It was also the second fastest steeplechase performance in Northeast Conference history, and well under the NEC Championships record of 10:58.29, which was set by Quinnipiac's Morgan Roche in 2012. She currently ranks 14th in the NCAA Northeast Region, and has an excellent chance of making it to the Regional meet with a little more improvement. Last year the cut-off for the top-48 in the region was 10:34.62. Castrogivanni also qualified for the ECAC Championships, easily besting the ECAC standard of 10:55.04.
The Pioneers had a limited roster at the Dick Shea Open but still made their presence felt. Senior Michelle Navarro (Piscataway, NJ) won the steeplechase with a personal best time of 11:09.80. Her time automatically qualified her for New England's and ranks her second in the NEC in the event behind teammate Castrogivanni.
For the men, sophomore John Wlasuk (Newtown, CT) won the discus event with another personal best and IC4A qualifying throw. Wlasuk unleashed a toss of 162'6", continuing to lead all NEC throwers. In the hammer throw, senior Matthew Wagner (Brookhaven, NY) finished fifth with a throw of 175'3". Wagner again met the IC4A qualifying standard and continues to lead the NEC in the event.