Track & Field Dominates NEC Championships

TrackThe track and field team contin­ued their ongoing success as they competed in the Boston Universi­ty Terrier Classic, Yale’s Giegen­gack Invitational, and the NEC Championships this most recent weekend in Landover, Maryland.

One of the best meets of the season for the Hawks is the Ter­rier Classic. “We had a lot of great performance up there (Boston),” head coach Joe Compagni re­called. “The Terrier Classic is one of our favorite meets that we go to every year.”

One of the stronger perfor­mances was by distance runner senior Ford Palmer as he set a Northeast Conference season re­cord of completing the men’s mile at 4:01.90.

Compagni said, “It was great to see his hard work pay off in his junior year and clearly he is at an­other level this year as a senior.” Palmer’s record time beats his own personal best by about eight seconds.

Senior sprinter Chris Ruther­ford was amazed by Palmer’s Ter­rier Classic performance. “He ran a breathtaking 4:01 mile which is something that I have never seen on this team,” Rutherford said. “He works hard year round and it has paid off.”

Rutherford currently ranks sev­enth in the NEC for the 500 me­ter sprint with his Terrier Classic time of 1:04.87, just .58 behind teammate and second place NEC record holder junior Bayaan Oluyadi.

Other strong performances of the meet include sophomore Khari Bowen’s 14:47.64 for the 5,000 meter run. With this time, Bowen ranks second in the NEC for the season. Senior Rachel Watkins also set a NEC record at the Terrier Classic, as she ran the 400 meter race finishing with a time of 56.26.

Seniors Amanda Eller, Em­ily MacEwen, and Danielle To­ritto finished in first, second and third place in the women’s 800 meter run with times of 2:10.79, 2:11.83 and 2:13.65 respectively. The women’s 4,000 meter dis­tance medley also ranks first in the NEC with the Terrier Classic of 11:44.56. Senior Rachel Wat­kins also performed successfully in the 400 meter besting the entire league with a 56.26 time.

Compagni attributes his team’s recent success to their constant training and will to get better. “As the week’s go on, it’s important for us to see progress in every area. For people to put the train­ing in each week and their means to execute and be able to per­form at a higher level due to their strength getting better and their fitness getting better.”

Senior Shane Carle threw 56 feet .5 inches in the shot put mak­ing him second in the NEC only to teammate junior Errol Jeffrey who threw 58 feet and 4.5 inches earlier this year. At the Invita­tional, Jeffrey set another NEC record for the weight throw as he tossed a distance of 61 feet and 2.25 inches.

Compagni does not believe Jef­frey has reached his full potential. “It’s only Errol’s second year with us,” Compagni said. “He has im­proved a lot working with Coach Flores and he is still learning.”

When asked if he believed the Terrier Classic and Giegengack Invitational will foreshadow the Hawks’ NEC Championship out­come, Compagni said, “I hope so, that’s the plan. As much as we like all the meets on the sched­ule, we absolutely circle the NEC championship as a huge two days for us every indoor season.”

The Hawks won the NEC Championships by a very com­fortable margin. The men had a total of 164.5 points while the women tallied 162.5 points. They finished ahead of Long Island University Brooklyn, who gath­ered 128 points for the men and 100 points for the women.

Jeffrey won the shot put on the first day and second day with a distance of 57 feet 1.5 inches while teammate Shane Carle came in third for the shot put on the first day at 55 feet 8.25 inches and placed in third on the second day with a throw of 55 feet 5.5 inches. Jeffrey also secured first place in the NEC’s for his 62 feet and five inches weight throw this past weekend.

Sophomore Ben Boyd won the 400 meter run on both days of competition and made a new NEC record time of 48.45. As expected, Palmer won the mile with a time of 4:16.88 and also placed second in the 800 meter race with a time of 1:51.37 on day two of compe­tition. Palmer is currently ranked second in the NEC records for his 800 meter timing.

Junior Jalen Walker prevailed in the 60 meter hurdles on day one and two as he finished at 8.14 seconds and 8.07 respectively cre­ated a new 60 meter hurdle NEC season record. Junior Ed Kramer came in second for the high jump with a height of six feet 8.25 inch­es and also ranks second in the NEC season records. Fellow high jumper and teammate sophomore Erik Anderson holds third place in the NEC with his six foot seven inches height at the Champion­ship.

Junior Mariah Toussaint won the 200 meter dash with a time of 25.14 while teammate sophomore Kate Frye prevailed in the 400 meter race with a time of 57.61 seconds on day two and 58.15 on day one. Eller won the mile on the second day with a time of 5:07.78 and finished at 5:06.81 on day one. The women’s 4x400 relay placed first crossing the finish line at 3.49:06 which is a NEC season record.

As far as meets are concerned, senior thrower Sandra Jean-Ro­main believes there is no com­parison to the NEC Champion­ship. “The Championship is the highlight of our season. We train hard all season for this meet. For most of the team this is the end of their indoor season. For those of us who have qualified for big­ger meets, we will continue to compete for a few more weeks to go after our personal and/or relay goals,” Romain said.

Rutherford shares his team­mate’s opinion. “Being that it is a two day meet, it is often hard to stay physically up to par and mentally drive. However, the team that can handle the pain and work through the mental beating will always come out victorious and that team was no other than the Monmouth University Hawks. I am happy to claim my second indoor title and looking forward to outdoor where we will win our 5th straight outdoor NEC title,” Rutherford said.

This victory counts as the 32nd and 33rd NEC Championship ti­tle the Hawks have won in cross country and track alone and also counts as the winter track team’s final NEC title as they move to the MACC conference next year. They will next travel to New York this Friday to compete in the NYU Meet on Friday and the Millrose Games Saturday.

PHOTO COURTESY of Tom Connelly