Rowan women’s indoor track and field has the freshman shine at the Collegeville Classic

Jenna Spadaro (top left), Mya Walker (top right), Ava Rizzo (center), Brianna DeSanto (bottom left), and Emily Zanni (bottom right) headshots. The freshman recorded a ton of top-10 finishes in Saturday's meet. - Social Media Manager / Frankie Ryan

The Rowan women’s track team had a solid outing down at Ursinus for the Collegeville Classic, placing sixth out of thirteen teams with 32 points.

The team is feeling confident as there were a lot of great performances at the meet, specifically from the freshmen on the team. Standout freshmen duo Brianna DeSanto and Mya Walker both advanced to the final for the 60-meter. DeSanto finished in sixth place with a time of 8.46 while Walker finished eighth with a time of 8.65.

Other standout freshmen performances came from Ava Rizzo, Emily Zanni, and Jenna Spadaro. Rizzo finished fifth in the 800 meter with a time of 2:27.10, Zanni finished fourth overall in the mile run with a time of 5:32.56, and Spadaro finished eighth in the 3000 meter with a time of 12:33.62, also earning the team a point. 

Head Coach Liz Madden is feeling really proud of the team for the way they came together and put on a strong performance. She was also very pleased by the way the freshmen runners stepped up. 

“I was really proud of my kids for coming together,” Madden said. “I was really proud of everyone, especially the freshmen. They all made it to the finals in their respective events and we saw a lot of good indoor PRs and great finishes from my freshmen and sophomores. When they stepped on the track they looked like seasoned veterans, they didn’t look like freshmen.” 

Throwers Izzy Deal and Grace Vit also had very strong performances that impressed Madden. 

“I was really proud of my throwers,” Madden said. “Grace hit a huge PR, Izzy had a season-best so far and took first. They were able to compete under crazy circumstances, especially Grace who got there at nine in the morning and didn’t compete until six at night.”

Vit had a great performance in the shot put, finishing eighth, while Deal recorded a third-place finish in the weight throw and took home a first-place finish for the shot put. 

Despite putting up stellar results so far this season, Deal is staying humble and has the mindset that she can do even better than what she’s showing. 

“I am actually not satisfied at all,” Deal said. “During warmups, I perform a little better, which shows that I am capable of more. It’s just a matter of keeping myself calm and staying mentally ready to compete.”

Even though Deal feels she can do better than she’s showing, she is still giving herself some credit for the amount of improvements she has seen from herself.

“I am happy with my progress because I had a season’s best in shot put,” Deal said. “I am doing some really good technical things in weight. When it comes to technique I’m happy but I want to be able to really progress in a meet and not let mental hurdles get in the way.” 

Besides the personal success she has had this season, Deal is feeling ecstatic about the team’s performances and attitude so far this season. 

“I think we have a really good attitude as a team,” Deal said. “I think that we are all making goals that make us uncomfortable and push us to do better. In the throws, I see it a lot because I see them every day, but also getting to see the runners on the track, you can just tell the drive they have. It is very nice to be on a team that’s so driven and wants to reach big things.” 

The team also ran in the 4×400 relay at the Villanova Invitational which featured senior Kat Pederson, junior Jasmine Pope, junior Molly Lodge, and junior Nevaeh Lorjuste. They finished 13th overall with a time of 4:08.96.

This team has a lot of drive and passion, along with coaches who push them to reach their full potential. They look to continue their success this upcoming weekend for two events; the Columbia University Challenge which takes place both Friday and Saturday at the NYC Armory, and the Seamus McElligott Invitational hosted by Haverford on Saturday. 

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