Track standouts run their way to Regionals

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In only their second season, Suffolk University Track has flourished into a program that has become well recognized not only in their conference, but also nationwide.

Combined, the men’s and women’s team have a total of 34 athletes, over 75 percent of them being freshmen. Some of them are runners and others compete in field events such as the shot put.

With a season that began at the beginning of December many members of the team have worked nonstop to put Suffolk on the board of leaders. On Feb. 23 the program got to showcase some of it’s top athletes in the New England Division III Regional Indoor Championships.

On the men’s side freshman Matyas Csiki-Fejer was the lone Suffolk runner who went to Regionals at MIT. The women’s team traveled to Bowdoin College with junior runners Emma Weise, Emily Manfra and Mariama Kamara along with freshman Allison Rodrigues who competed in the shot put.

“It’s always great to see the athletes having success,” said head coach Will Feldman in an interview with The Suffolk Journal. “They work extremely hard year round so it’s extremely rewarding when they surpass their goals. We’ve been fortunate to have folks competing at such a high level this year.”

While this was the second time that Weisse and Manfra had gone to Regionals, Kamara and Rodrigues went for their first time. The Lady Rams finished 20th out of 26 teams, but this was the first time that Suffolk put up a team score.

One of the best finishes for the Lady Rams came from Manfra who finished fourth place in the mile. Manfra was recently recognized as the only Ram to go ever go to NCAA DIII Nationals. Again her name has come among some of the best DIII runners as she is ranked 11th in the nation for the mile.

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

“I won’t lie it’s fun to have fellow coaches from around the country reach out and take notice of how well [Manfra] and our other athletes are performing,” said Feldman. “As an alum it can be a little surreal to see Suffolk athletes sitting at the top of the national rankings. [Manfra] is just starting to scratch the surface of what she’s capable of, and it’s going to be fun to not only see how her indoor season finishes up but what’s in her future here at Suffolk.”

In the 60-meter dash Kamara finished in 9th place with a time of 8.07 seconds. Rodrigues made Suffolk history by becoming the first athlete to compete in the field in the shot put. She finished in 15th place with a distance of 10.76 meters.

Feldman said that what many people don’t realize is how hard it is for freshman like Rodrigues to qualify for an event like this.

“I think it’s been overlooked this year, but Allison was a huge recruit for us last year,” said Feldman. “She was one of the top throwers in Massachusetts last year as a senior in high school and even qualified for high school nationals. I have no doubt she is going to achieve big things this outdoor season, and will have an amazing career at Suffolk.”

On the men’s side Csiki-Fejer has had many standout performances in only his first year with the program. As a member of the Cross-Country team last semester, Csiki-Fejer garnered a third place finish in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship. Eventually he would go on to be named the GNAC Rookie of the Year.

We’ve been fortunate to have folks competing at such a high level this year.”

— Will Feldman

While he was alone at Regionals, Csiki-Fejer said that this did not make him that nervous as he took the line for his race. He explained that in high school much of his experience has been with outdoor track rather than indoor.

“It can be pretty nerve wracking, but at that point you know that you’ve done everything you could have done to prepare and it’s pointless to think about what you might have done differently,” said Csiki-Fejer. “What you do know is that you have a bunch of good practices under your belt and that you’ve been putting in the work throughout the season.”

Csiki-Fejer’s main goal for the end of the season is to break his mile record of 4:17. As he continues his career as a Suffolk athlete it shows that he someday may be a leader for the program.

While the season has nearly come to a close, the team has no offseason as outdoor track will begin in late March. Their first meet is the Bears Invitational on Mar. 23 at Bridgewater State University.

“It’s cool to see that we actually have people following. It’s been fun to make people realize we have a team,” said Manfra in an interview with The Journal. “It’s helping for recruits a lot, which is awesome. I’d love to see this program grow.”

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