Last Saturday, the men’s and women’s track and field teams hosted the Class of ’32 Invitational at Sanford Field House. Both teams dominated every facet of competition. The men’s team finished the competition 57 points ahead of the runner-up, Cortland. The women’s team achieved an even larger margin of victory, also beating Cortland by 75 points.
“We were psyched to win,” Women’s Head Coach Laura Nardelli said. “But it would have been nice to see more of a challenge.”
“Going in, I had scored the meet to be a ten-point meet,” Men’s Head Coach Art McKinnon. “It could have gone either way, but the field guys put up points, and really ensured our win.”
The big story of the day was Sophomore Lyle Tolli. The Lockport, New York native not only stole first place for the Raiders in the 1,000-meter run, but he also broke the Colgate school record for the event. He brought home second place in the mile, adding his name to another record – third quickest mile in Colgate history.
“Lyle has been a very interesting athlete to work with,” said McKinnon. “He was overlooked due to injuries, and really struggled last year. He is still having some difficulty, yet his workouts have been amazing.”
Tolli did more than simply doing the Raiders good on the scoreboard. McKinnon believes that he is an inspiration to his fellow team members.
“Watching Lyle run wearing Colgate makes me proud to wear Colgate,” first-year Ed Boulat said. Tolli’s commitment and athletic ability make it hard not to admire him.
“The most impressive things about the mile and the 1,000-meter run were the last two laps,” McKinnon said. “29 seconds for the second to last lap and 27 seconds for the last lap.”
The ideal way to win races is to run a steady pace for the majority of the distance and then to speed up. Many athletes often find it difficult to increase their speed after already quickening their pace after the mid-way point. When an athlete is able to do just that, it is called negative splitting, and that is exactly what Lyle Tolli did.
“We are taking Lyle to BU to attempt to get a national qualifying time,” McKinnon said. “For a sophomore – especially at Colgate with no scholarships – it’s amazing. He is going to rewrite more than just the 1,000-meter record.”
Besides Tolli, there were other Raiders stars on Saturday. First-year Tom Cuppernull won both the long jump and the triple jump (his jumps were 6.64 and 13.59 meters respectively). In the 500-meter dash, the Raiders won first, second and third place. Senior Andy Holway took first, while first-year Andy Smith and sophomore Charles Green took second and third respectively.
The women’s track and field team had its share of big wins as well. Junior Curry Knox won two races, taking the 55-meter hurdles as well as the 55-meter dash. She was awarded the Katie Almeter Most Valuable Player award. First-year Stacey Marion led the way to secure first place in the mile for Colgate. Marion’s team members, sophomore Emily Oliver and Allison Bodack, took second and third.
“We did not expect to win that big,” Nardelli said. “We were just looking to compete well.”
Though Coach Nardelli did not anticipate such a dramatic victory, her confidence in the team prompted her to encourage players to try events that they did not usually complete in.
“It was a nice chance to see kids in different events and walking away with winning events out of their comfort zones,” Nardelli said.
On Saturday, Colgate will travel to Syracuse, New York and compete in the Syracuse Invitational.
“This week was a great confidence builder that will prepare them for later,” Nardelli said. “Syracuse will be challenging, but I’m sure we’ll have a good run up there. It is the perfect meet for us.”