- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 27 January 2016
- Written by TOM MORFORD | STAFF WRITER
As storm Jonas was making headlines this weekend, the competitors of Monmouth University’s men’s and women’s track and field teams also made titles for themselves at the NYC Gotham Cup at Ocean Breeze on Staten Island on Saturday, Jan. 23, and the Tiger Open at Princeton University on Sunday, Jan. 24.
“We had more than two dozen athletes hit their best performance of the season if not their best performance ever at our meets this weekend, “head coach Joseph Compagni said. “That’s what we need, honestly, is to see their work pay off with continued progress and positive results.”
At the NYC Gotham Cup, juniors Andrea Olsen and Tionna Garner both earned qualifying ECAC marks for the 60-meter hurdles and the 400-meter races respectively. Olsen placed second with a time of 8.82, and Garner came in third overall with a time of 55.68.
In addition, senior Sydney Engelberger, junior Ashley Grenger, junior Jessica Ball, and junior Molly McKeon, sped into first place in the women’s distance medley relay with the victory time of 12:14.72. Senior Nina Poccia, a distance runner for MU, remarked on the event, “There were many personal records, (PRs), and good performances all around. There were also many season bests and ECAC qualifications on the women’s team.”
Not only did the MU women standout, but the men gave some outstanding performances with sophomore Bryan Sosoo claiming a sixth place finish in the 60- meter dash in a time of 6.85, and junior Dylan Capwell earning sixth-place as well in the 400 (48.70).
Freshman Andrew Tummino finished fourth in the shot put throwing 49’ 5”.
“The Tiger Open,” said Poccia, “had a higher level of competition for the Monmouth track and field team compared to the earlier meets.”
While this meet may have had a higher level of competition, this did not stop MU’s men and women from claiming wins in the men’s mile by freshman Kyle Mueller (4:27.22), the 500 by freshman Kevin Mazzella (1:07.40), and in the women’s 800 by junior Abby Baker (2:21.49).
Also earning standout finishes on the track were sophomore Frank Conforti in the 500- meter, finishing in second 0.15 seconds behind Mazzella, and sophomore Shannon Averill claiming fifth in the 800 with the time of 2.24.68.
In addition, senior Spencer Dimock placed fifth with a toss of 54’ 10.75”. Claiming second place in the shot put was sophomore Corey Murphy, who hurled a throw of 58’ 4.75”, while senior Tevin Kirby-Stewart finished fourth with a heave of 52’ 10”.
The women throwers went 3-4-5 in the weight throw, with senior Aziza Ahmed placing third with a throw of 52’ 3.75”, followed by sophomores Kennisha Okereke (51’ 0.75”) and Alicia Hester (49’ 11”) in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Freshman Onnie Coles led the way for Monmouth in the women’s shot put, finishing fourth with a toss of 40’ 8.75”, ahead of fellow rookie Allison Taub, who hit 39’ 11.25” to finish sixth, while Hester claimed seventh place with a toss of 38’7.75”.
To add to the success of the day, sophomore pole vaulter Dean McDonald cleared 14’ 3.25” earning him third, while freshman Michael Pepper took third in the triple jump (43’ 10.75”) and sixth in the long jump with a leap of 21’ 5.25”.
With a weekend full of success, the positive energy was felt throughout the team. “Our team knows that they can benefit from the chemistry and fire from their teammates, both within and across event groups,” Compagni said.
Looking forward, Compagni said, “We are moving into the heart of our regular season and our championship meets are now less than a month away. We are still doing a big volume of work and working on putting the technical aspects of each event together for each person. Each week the pieces should come together more and their performances should reflect that. While each person is getting ready to go after in their events, we know that we need to keep working on coming together to build something special as a team.”
PHOTO COURTESY of Tim Connelly