Track Competes in Colonial Relays, Stockton Invite

Track Colonial Relays Stockton InviteThe men’s and women’s track teams have had a successful start to their outdoor season.

They began with the Monmouth Season Opener, which was held on campus from Mar. 24-25. Both teams won the event, with the men totaling 335.5 points. This was 215.5 points higher than the next closest team, as Rider finished second with a score of 120. The women scored 266 points, 104 more than second place Sacred Heart.

With ongoing construction of Monmouth Stadium, Head Coach Joe Compagni noted Georgian Court hosted the long throws on March 24 to open the event. He was glad teams did not shy away from competing and was able to keep the tradition.

“I really wanted to keep the meet going,” Compagni said. “This was the 22nd annual and I think it was a great opportunity for our folks at home. I wasn’t sure what the turnout would be having the meet at two locations and the construction, but we still had 25 teams here.”

Both teams had strong showings at the Stockton Invite and the Colonial Relays, which took place from March 30-April 1. The throwers went to Galloway, while the runners ran in Williamsburg, VA.

“At our home meet, we were fortunate that the conditions were pretty good,” Compagni said. “What we saw at both Colonial and Stockton was the conditions are not always going to be good. That creates some challenges but the event is the event and the conditions are going to be the same for everyone. Managing those conditions is a big part of being successful outdoors. Some of our folks did that very well and others learned how they’re going to need to improve at that.”

Highlighting the Colonial Relays was the women’s distance medley relay group of middle distance runners seniors Jenna Cupp and Tionna Garner, junior Danielle Leavitt, and sophomore Chandi Piiru. The group set a school record of 11:31 to win the event.

“We knew that was going to be very competitive so we just wanted to get out there and have fun,” Garner said. “We knew it was going to be an opportunity for a lot of our people to do great things and we really took advantage of those opportunities. The same was the case with the throwing events at Stockton because a lot of them came out with personal records.”

Two Hawks that performed well at Stockton were honored by the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) on April 4 as junior thrower Corey Murphy won Field Performer of the Week for the third time this season, while junior thrower Stephanie Roones earned Women’s Field Performer of the Week. Both qualified for NCAA Regionals as Murphy posted a shot put mark of 60’ 7.75” while Roones won javelin with a toss of 156’ 8.”

“We knew as we came into the season they would be among our top people,” Compagni said. “Corey redshirted for the indoor season, so now he’s come out for outdoors with a lot of energy that has let him put some big marks up early. For Steph, the javelin throwers have to work all year just for the spring and it’s hard to do 12 months of work to get yourself to a new level, and she’s done that really well.”

While the program has seen a lot of recent success, there are always areas for athletes to improve.

“We, as coaches, see things early in the season where you say, ‘Hey it’s nice to win at home or get a nice mark or time early in the year, but that’s not going to get it done for us come championship time,’” Compagni said.

“That gives us the opportunity to come back during the week and know what we need to work on. For the field event folks it’s more technical things. On the track it’s more continuing to do the workouts they need to do to get to that point,” Compagni explained.

Every meet throughout the season is preparation for the conference championships, which will be held on May 6-7 in Lawrenceville.

“We certainly want to finish at the top,” Compagni said. “Rider is the favorite on the men’s side. They upset us indoors and they were picked as the favorite outdoors, so our men know they have some work to do to defend their title. The women are the best group on paper, but they know there are several very good teams that can put up results.”

“With conference, that’s where we always try to put forth our best effort and I think everybody is excited,” Garner said, agreeing with Compagni. “We get pretty pumped up about that and when we are doing well at other meets, we hope that it transfers over when it’s time for us to go for the title.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Tom Connelly