Outdoor Track and Field
Rider at IC4A/ECAC Championships - Day One
Soroko All-East / NCAA Regional Qualifier
Tassello Rider 10K Record
PRINCETON--Several members of the Rider University men's and women's track and field teams are competing at the 136th IC4A and the 29th ECAC Outdoor Track and Field championships, hosted by Princeton University.
For the Broncs on Friday night, graduate student Michael Soroko (Kinnelon) finished fourth in the steeplechase with a time of 8:58.12, earning All-East honors for the second year in a row while also qualifying for the NCAA regional meet in Jacksonville, Florida May 24-26.
Freshman Anthony Dentino (Sewell/Washington Township) was seventh in the 10,000 meter race with a personal best 30:22.60, also earning All-East honors.
"Tonight was great," said head coach Bob Hamer. "Our goal as a program is to not be happy to get to this meet and have random success. We want to know we are doing the things we need to have success at a high level on a consistent basis and I think you are seeing signs of that with tonight's performances."
"This feels great to earn All-East again," said Soroko. "I actually heard the public address announcer say during the race that I was an All-East performer last year and that kind of sparked me to finish strong tonight."
"Mike had a tough season with injuries and I've been disappointed for him because he has brought so much to the Rider program," said Hamer. "It feels great as a coach and on a personal level that Mike was rewarded for all of his hard work with another chance to go to the NCAA regional. He made the most of his opportunity tonight."
"Tonight was the big pressure race," Soroko added. "Being a graduate student, this could have been my last race and my goal was to make NCAAs again. This gets me two more weeks of training in preparation for the NCAA regional meet and who knows what I can do from there."
Soroko was the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion in the steeplechase last weekend with a time of 9:09.36 and is the Rider record holder in the event.
"I was nervous heading to NCAAs last year," said Soroko. "I now know what to expect and I can just go out and go for it with nothing to lose. I'm going out there to just have fun."
Dentino capped off a successful rookie season, having earned All-MAAC honors this past fall in cross country, finishing 13th at the conference championships.
"My transition from high school to college was pretty easy because of coach Hamer and my teammates," said Dentino about his freshman year at Rider. "My teammates welcomed me and brought me right in and worked to prepare me not only for my success in cross country but also the success that I was able to achieve tonight."
"Anthony had a tremendous rookie season," Hamer said. "To finish his outdoor season the way he did is absolutely fantastic. We had a plan for his development for the outdoor season and we stuck to it and you saw the success of that tonight. He got better as the indoor season went along and really stepped up for the outdoor portion of the schedule. It is a testament to the amount of work he put in before he got to Rider and the work he did this year in his training."
"I knew it would be really tough to make NCAAs so my real goal was to at least make All-East (top eight)," Dentino said. "I was actually sitting ninth the whole race and I was able to out-kick two guys on the final straightaway. This was a great way to cap off my season. I couldn't be any happier."
Also for Rider on Friday evening, junior Nicole Tassello (Suffern, N.Y./Suffern) set
a Rider record in the 10,000 meter, running 37:08.29, finishing 19th.
"I was really excited coming into the meet," said Tassello who qualified for ECACs for the first time in her career. "Excitement kind of took over the nervousness that I had entering the race. One of my goals this year was to break the 10K record and when it happened, I was completely shocked and very happy. I had no idea I could run that fast. I thought maybe they made a mistake or miscounted a lap or something. It was really exciting to set a Rider record in this type of competitive atmosphere at ECACs."
Tassello ran 37:11.06 at the Colonial Relays earlier this spring to qualify for the ECAC competition.
"For Nicole, she has had a tremendous outdoor season," Hamer said. "It's been tough because it has taken so long for her hard work to pay off in a tangible way. She has been a solid, consistent performer and has been putting up personal bests the last couple of races. That shows how hard she is training and the amount of work she is putting in and to get rewarded with a moment like tonight is awesome."
Junior Sean Donohue (Cliffwood Beach/Matawan) was 26th in the 10,000 meter race with a time of 32:06.48.
"I'm proud of everyone tonight," Hamer said. "We're excited and I think we can get some All-East performances on Saturday. We're also hoping to punch a few more tickets for the NCAA meet. I think we will be inspired by what transpired tonight for the rest of the weekend."
Competition continues through Sunday at Weaver Stadium.