Tolli Stars For Men’s Track at PL’s

Max Yadin

In the most important event of the year thus far, Patriot League schools gathered at Bucknell University to participate in the Indoor Track and Field Championships. The men’s and women’s track and field teams, both of whom have had impressive seasons in terms of individual performances and team-wide success, continued their drive for victories. The men’s team earned fourth place in a meet eventually won by Navy, while the women finished in seventh place despite their best efforts behind host and champion Bucknell.

Both teams best athletes, including sophomore Lyle Tolli, senior Thomas Dilworth, first-year Stacey Marion and junior Curry Knox, all performed well. Tolli, who has posted impressive times throughout the season, earned the Track Athlete of the Year Award. Teammates and seniors Andy Holway and Sean Baumann along with first-years Edouard Boulat and Andrew Smith all earned All-Patriot League Second-Team Honors. On the women’s side of the competition, both Knox and Marion achieved All-Patriot League Second-Team Honors.

“This was a really special weekend,” men’s Head Coach Art McKinnon told the Maroon-News. “It was awesome.”

“It was a big meet for the youngsters,” women’s Head Coach Laura Nardelli added.

Marion, one of the stars on the women’s team last weekend, had a strong meet. The first-year took third place in the 5,000-meter run on the first day, earning six points for Colgate. Meanwhile, Army and Navy took first and second place, respectively. Knox ran exceptional times in the 60-meter dash and the 60-meter hurdles qualifiers. Her 8.5 60-meter dash time in the hurdles earned her a first-place spot in the Colgate record books alongside Julie Stephenson, who also ran the 60-meter dash in 8.5 seconds in 2001.

“Stacey had a strong 5K,” Nardelli said. “A lot of eyes were on her and that is a lot of pressure for a freshman. I think she was a little more relaxed the next day in the 3K, which was a personal-best for her. Curry is just coming back into form. She was out of shape when she got back from her semester abroad, but she’s been running faster every week, even every day.”

The men’s team started and finished strong. The first big win of the day was a third-place finish in the 4×800 relay, which earned Colgate six points. The relay team was made up of Baumann, Holway, Smith and Tolli – four of the five runners who were awarded with All-Patriot League Second-Team Honors. The relay team’s time of 7:38.27 was a 21-second improvement from the previous season-best and is also the fastest time since 1969. Seniors Harrison Newman earned points for the Raiders with a fifth-place finish in the high jump, and Thomas Dilworth also earned Colgate some points by taking third in the 200m.

Tolli stole the second day of the competition. He took first place in the 1,000-meter run, beating Army’s Stephen Kraus by just 0.35 seconds. Two races later, Tolli earned yet another gold medal in the mile, besting American’s Brendan Fennell by six-tenths of a second. The top four runners finished within one second of that race. If that was not enough, Tolli anchored the distance medley relay team, which took second place overall.

“Toward the end of the run you started to hear this chant erupt – ‘Let’s go ‘Gate!’ – and we felt like we won the meet. There was this energy and it was deafening when we got down to the last few races,” McKinnon said.

McKinnon and his team have plenty of reasons to smile. The men’s fourth-place finish is an impressive improvement from last year’s seventh place finish at the same event last year.

“That was our best finish since Army and Navy have come into the Patriot League,” he added. “We thought we could do better than seventh. We were going to have a presence in the meet, and have our share of wins. Credit has to go to the senior captains and my new assistant coach.”

Members of the Colgate men’s track and field team that qualified for IC4A Championship will compete in that meet on Sunday, March 9th in Boston. Some athletes on the women’s track and field team will also compete in Boston on that day in the ECAC Championships.