The St. Francis College 4x800 team is proving to be one of the top relay units in the area. The team, which is composed of freshmen Joe and Paul Gihuley from Bishop Ford (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
High School, Brian Nersten from Xaverian (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
High School, and sophomore Rafal Ksepka from Grover Cleveland (Buffalo, N.Y.)
High School, finished first at the Metropolitan Championship meet, and 19th overall in the college Men’s 4x800 at the Penn Relays.
The team has made steady improvement throughout the season. It ran a 7:48 in the Metropolitan Championships, which consists of all colleges and universities in the New York metropolitan area. The goal was to be among the top teams in the field. Ksepka knew that the team would be much improved in 2010. “Last season, we didn't run in many big meets,” Ksepka said. “After seeing the coaches recruit great young talent, like Brian, the twins and many others, and competing in more competitive races, it has been good for the program to see where we rank among the elite programs. It's been an amazing ride with the recent success we have had in such a short time.”
At the Penn Relays the team finished 19th out of a field of 35 teams. At this meet, the team dropped five seconds off its time, running a 7:43.11. “At Penn Relays, it was a great experience,” Nersten said. “Having competed at this event for the first time, with a record crowd chanting for you, was a feeling like no other. To see some of the greatest athletes in the world, Usian Bolt for example, on display along with us, was an amazing experience. Before warming up, just watching the Jamaican team striding out and receive cheers from the fans, we stopped our stretches for a moment and were in state of awe.”
This past Saturday, the Terriers accomplished a goal by winning the NEC title in a time of 7:43.06. This was the team’s goal for the spring season. Prior to the meet, Ksepka and the team were optimistic. “We ultimately want to be part of a foundation that will vie for a Northeast Conference title,” he said. “As long as we continue to train hard in practice and run our style, we will improve tremendously towards reaching our ultimate goals.”
As they get use to their style and build up their chemistry, they can end up being one of the best relay teams in the nation. The St. Francis Terriers 4x800 team will be a team to look out for in the near future.