ECU Track & Field

Naomi Whitaker is a sophomore on the East Carolina University Track & Field team.

The East Carolina University men’s and women’s track and field teams both successfully defended their Bill Carson Invitational victories from 2016 and 2017 with another meet win this weekend.

The meet consisted of athletes from the University of Charlotte, Coastal Carolina University, Troy University and The Citadel who all traveled to Greenville to compete along with ECU this past weekend. After unanticipated rain struck Greenville, the Pirates had to adapt to new conditions since not all track meets are warm and sunny.

“I don’t want to use the weather as an excuse, but as you know the weather does dictate performances in outdoor sporting events,” director of men’s and women’s track and field Curt Kraft said. “I told our team before the track meet started that we may have to run in these conditions at the conference championship in May, so we need to be focused.”

Both the men and women together won 15 events with several top three finishes. The ECU women set a new meet record of 292 points, taking the victory away from second place Charlotte, who was almost doubled up by the Pirates at 156 points.

According to assistant coach Brie Berkowitz, athletes like junior Courtney Warner, freshman Sommer Knight and sophomore Savannah Wood all shined for the women’s team this weekend. Warner took the title in the 100-meter and 200-meter races, while Knight and Wood took the top two places in pole vaulting. There was a tiebreaker where Knight took the title after jumping 3.75 meters. Warner also defended her title in the 100-meter race from last year after posting a time of 11.69 this season compared to her slower time of 11.71 in 2017.

The men secured their win after amassing a total of 151.5 points, just edging out the two second place teams in Troy and Coastal Carolina who tied with 137 points. Junior Stefano Migliorati stood out for the men after winning the 800-meter race, which he also won the previous year. Migliorati held off his title win even though he posted a slower time of 1:51.54 compared to his 1:50.64 last year, which was a meet record. In the field junior Ryan Davis remained consistent, winning the hammer throw event with a toss of 60.21 meters.

“Everyone competed as a team and that is why we were successful on both the women’s and men’s side,” assistant coach Bre Berkowitz said. “We kept positive attitudes, supported each other and competed tough.”

Sophomore Naomi Whitaker was among the few Pirates who set personal records at the meet. Whitaker ran the 10th fastest 100-meter hurdle time in program history at 14.18 while moving up to No. 8 on this season’s American Athletic Conference performance list. Freshman Adam Sadowski improved one spot to No. 7 on the school’s top-10 list for the javelin, while sophomore Andrew Ciaccia moved into ninth place for ECU in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 15:00.20.

“Athletes and coaches always become very impatient and want instant success now. I don’t think coaches and athletes are ever 100 percent satisfied with results,” Kraft said. “We have to remain focused and stay hungry and results will take care of themselves.”

With a lot of work still to be made before conference championships in May, the team will take part in the Aggie Invitational this weekend in Greensboro, North Carolina, to take on North Carolina A&T State University.

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