Michael Koceja Sets Abbey Record in 400 Meters at Conference Carolinas Championships

Michael Koceja Sets Abbey Record in 400 Meters at Conference Carolinas Championships

WINSTON-SALEM, NC - The Belmont Abbey Men's Indoor Track & Field team finished in eighth place today at the Conference Carolinas Championships.

Junior Michael Koceja set a Belmont Abbey record in the 400m, with a 50.45-second race, earning him a #5 finish out of 21 runners.  Sophomore Matthew Difrancesco also set a Belmont Abbey record, with a 22.7-second 200M dash.  One more Abbey record was set today, as the 4x400 relay team ran to a 3:33.61 finish.

In the field events, freshman Julian Smallwood had a strong performance, finishing in third place out of 21 throwers, with a 14.7m toss.  Peter Heron was the top long jumper for the Abbey, finishing with a leap of 5.9 meters.  Freshman Aspen Dillard made a seventh-place finish with a 1.83m high jump.

As for the distance runners, junior Patrick Lester paced his way to a top-10 finish in the 800m, which he completed in 2:02.95.  Sophomore Connor Buhrmeister was not far behind, with a 2:08.6 run.  In the mile, sophomore Thomas Eichorn cruised to a third-place finish in his heat, as he ran the event in 4:46.96.

Head Coach Nick Radkewich offered the following comments on today's championship meet: "Today the Crusaders were led by Julian Smallwood's 3rd place finish in the shotput, only surpassed by veteran junior and senior throwers in the competition.  Team Captain Mike Koceja finished 5th in the 400m race setting a new school record as did Matt Difrancesco in the 200m dash.  Freshman high jumper Aspen Dillard scored in his first Conference Championship foretelling good things to come as the athletes head outdoors in March.  Patrick Lester continued his return from injury finishing tenths from scoring points with a new indoor personal best performance in the 800m race.  Finally the men's 4x400m relay closed the meet with a diving finish by Tomas Cerdeiras for a new school record.  The men fought hard for every point today and others will have to step during outdoors to improve their performances in order to earn more points and a higher team finish at the outdoor championships."