Track & Field Hosts Fourth Annual MAC Classic

MU’s track and field season began this past weekend as the team hosted both conference rival Wagner College and Division III Stevens Institute of Technology in Monmouth’s Fourth Annual MAC Classic.

The men and women’s teams participated in thirteen events each.

The men won nine of their events while the women won a total of eight events. Overall, the men scored 150 points while the women were not far behind with 131 points. Head coach Joe Compagni is proud of his team’s great start to the season.

“I think we were pleased with it for our first meet of the year,” Compagni said. “It’s important for us to measure where we are at early in the season.”

Highlights on the women’s side came from senior jumper Rachel Watkins.

Watkins won the high jump with a height of 1.78 meters (5 feet and 10 inches). With her 1.78 meter accomplishment, Watkins broke the school record, the meet record, and the MAC record. “Rachel Watkins has the best jump in the country so far this year,” Compagni praised. “She was very good last year but has continued to improve every year.”

“Coach Dev, my high jump coach, had high expectations but I didn’t think twice about them,” Watkins said.

She also does not believe that her latest achievement will add pressure in her next meet.

“It’s a relief to qualify for ECAC’s my first meet and to know I’m ahead of my expectations for this season.”

She improved her resume by also winning the 60 meter hurdles by finishing with a time of 9.37.

Other wins for the women came mostly from MU’s junior class. Mariah Toussaint won both the 60 meter dash, although she was running unattached, and long jump with a landing of 5.67 meters (18 feet 7 inches).

Junior Laura Williams won the 300 meter dash with a 41.47 time. Shot put was won by junior Rachel Aliotta as she threw for 13.92 meters (45 feet and 8 inches).

Meanwhile, the weight throw was taken by junior Tilah Young who threw a distance of 17.13 meters (56 feet and 3 inches). The women’s relay team A won the 4×40 rely finishing with a 4:03.31 time.

The men’s highlights, according to Compagni, came from sophomore Benjamin Boyd. “Ben Boyd ran one of the fastest times,” Compagni said about Boyd’s 300 meter dash. “We do not get to compete in the 300 meter very often, but for him to be in the top 5 in the very first meet of the year is a great start.” Boyd finished the 300 meter dash with a time of 35.30, creating a MAC record.

Another key player in the men’s victory was freshman Eric Kahana who raced in the 60 meter dash and finished with a time of 7.05 as well as competing in the 60 meter hurdles and winning with a time of 8.42.

The high jump victor was MU’s senior Jake Bartlett who jumped 2.01 meters (6 feet 7 inches) and competed unattached. The men’s relay team A won the 4×400 meter relay posting a 3:26.40 time.

Senior Ford Palmer also excelled in the meet by winning the 3000 meter dash (1.86 miles) with a time of 8:45.20. Sophomore Joseph Marini took the long jump with a distance of 6.65 meters (21 feet and 10 inches) .

Junior Errol Jeffrey won the distance jump with 17.41 meters (57 feet and 2 inches). Compagni attributes the meet’s success to the work ethic of his team.

“Our sprinters, jumpers, and throwers spend the entire fall training to getting ready to get the season going,” Compagni said. “[This outburst of power] is not what we expect since it usually takes some weeks to get there but when someone can come and put up a big mark. It’s great.”

Although the cross country runners did not participate in this past weekend’s meet, they will be competing shortly. “The cross country team just finished their season so it was important for them to get a little break and train. Some of them while compete in this weekend’s meet,” Compagni said.

The track & field team travels to Princeton to compete in the New Year Invitational meet this weekend on Sunday December 9 with the events beginning at 11:00 am.

PHOTO COURTESY of MU Photography