- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 01 March 2017
- Written by JOHN SORCE | SPORTS EDITOR
The women’s indoor track & field team won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship for the fourth year in a row on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the New Balance Armory Track and Field Center in New York, NY. Monmouth has won seven consecutive conferences title every year since 2012 and have won all four years since joining the MAAC in the summer of 2013.
“It’s nice to build on that tradition, but it’s also important to focus on the one that’s in front of us, because that is the only one we can control,” Head Coach Joe Compagni said. “I like the pride that our kids have in our program and how they support each other and work together to be special and accomplish something big. The most fun part about this is seeing them really accept the challenge of being a great group.”
The women secured the victory by a wide margin, scoring 208.50 points while Rider finished second with 137 points. No other team in the event registered more than 100 points.
Senior Casey Sturts was named women’s Most Outstanding Field Performer while freshman thrower Jordan Wildermuth earned women’s Rookie Field Performer of the Meet. Junior sprinter/jumper Bryan Sosoo was named men’s Most Outstanding Track Performer while freshman thrower Daniel Gilligan earned men’s Rookie Field Performer of the Meet honors. Compagni was named Women’s Coach of the Year for the indoor season.
Sturts won the pole vault by clearing 3.75 meters and received bronze in the high jump with a score of 1.70 meters. Wildermuth, who has excelled in many events as a freshman, won the weight throw with a distance of 17.57 meters. Soto took home the gold in two events – the 200 meter run with a time of 22.12 and the 60 meter dash in 6.77 seconds – while Gilligan placed second in the shot put with a toss of 16.83 meters.
Both the men’s and women’s 4x400 relay teams secured victories. The women’s team consisted of seniors Antoniette Isekenegbe, Nia Driver, Tionna Garner, and sophomore Chandi Piiru, who ran an overall time of 3:50.10. The men consisted of junior Jack Grace, sophomores Greg Stickle and Bryan Cabral, and senior Malcom Chavis, who crossed the finish line at 3:20.52.
“This experience from freshman to senior year has been a lot of work,” Isekenegbe said. “We want to keep the tradition of winning the conference indoor and doing so with this group is an amazing feeling, because this team really feels like a family.”
Compagni has stated the conference meet is always the top meet for the track team, with each prior meet leading up to it as another step in being prepared when the time comes.
“The vibe is a lot different at conference. We are all pushing each other,” Isekenegbe said. “We are competing together and it is always about the team first. It’s not about ‘me’ it’s about ‘we.’”
The men finished second with a total of 146 points, finishing just three points shy of Rider’s 149. It was their first indoor conference championship they did not win since 2011.
It was a close call for the men, who were also seeking their fourth straight MAAC conference championship. But senior distance runner Domenick D’Agostino is satisfied knowing that they gave it their all.
“We all fought as hard as we could and this just happens sometimes,” D’Agostino said. “We have a few of our top guys redshirting so we know we know we are going to be stronger next year. This is such a great program and we did lose the MAAC meet, but that was the first time that has happened for me and it was a hard-fought loss. This team has been really great to be a part of.”
Members of the Hawks who qualified, including Isekenegbe and D’Agostino, will set off to Boston, MA for the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) Indoor Championships on Friday, Mar. 3.
PHOTO COURTESY of Brian Hesterin