Cambridge, Mass. - The University at Albany men's indoor track and field team has been picked to finish first, while the women's squad was projected to place second in the America East Conference Preseason Coaches Polls, as announced by the league office on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
The men's team, which has won four straight and six of the past seven championships, was unanimously selected to defend its crown. The Great Danes received all eight possible first-place votes and accumulated the maximum 64 points. New Hampshire was picked second and earned the final first-place vote. The Boston University women, winners of four consecutive league titles, were picked to repeat as conference champions. The Terriers, who lost two All-Americans to graduation, earned 62 points and six first-place votes. UAlbany garnered two first-place votes and received 56 points, while New Hampshire had 52 points and the final first-place vote.
The UAlbany men, who also earned their first IC4A title last winter, return six student-athletes who won an individual event at last year's conference championship meet. Senior pole vaulter Luke Schoen has his eyes set on winning a national title after garnering All-America honors during the 2008-09 season. Classmate Nasim Siddeeq was named the America East Field Performer of the Meet and the USTFCCCA Northeast Region Field Athlete of the Year after winning the triple jump and finishing second in the long jump at last season's championship. Valete Graham, a senior who holds the program standard in the long jump, as well as Kyle Nadler and Fred Casimo will also be forces in the horizontal jumping events. Junior Wilfredo de Jesus Elias, the school's record holder in the weight throw, will look to defend his title this winter. Senior Freddie Wills, who did not compete indoors last year but won the decathlon at the America East outdoor meet, rounds out the list of top returners in the field events.
Senior sprinter Alie Beauvais and a group of middle distance runners headline the list of returners in the track events. Beauvais won the 500-meter dash at the America East championship last season and was also an IC4A qualifier in the 400. Seniors Jeffery Barnes and Pat Weider are returning all-conference performers in the short sprints. Juniors Tyler Fogarty, Aaron Lozier and John Moore will look to dominate the middle distance events. Lozier and Fogarty won the 800 and 1,000-meter events, respectively, last year, while Moore was an all-conference selection in the 1,000. Fogarty and Moore along with sophomore Nick Santos were members of the 4x800-meter relay which clocked in the second-fastest time in the country and clinched the program's first IC4A title.
The UAlbany women, who have won three America East outdoor titles, are aiming to win their first indoor championship after finishing in the runner-up position four times. Seniors Fey Adaramola and Laura Cummings are the team's top returners in the track events. Adaramola won the 200-meter dash, placed fourth in the 55 and anchored the winning 4x400-meter relay squad at last year's championship. Cummings, who ran the final leg for the second-place distance medley relay team at the 2009 meet, will challenge for the individual title in the mile. Led by junior transfer Sheena Simpkins, an All-Northeast Conference performer at Mount St. Mary's, the Great Danes have added lots of depth in the sprints to complement Adaramola.
Junior Celine Cauderlier, an all-conference pole vaulter last season, and a group of returning throwers and jumpers will make UAlbany a threat to accumulate points in every single field event at the America East meet. Junior Kadine Johnson and senior Candice Mann have each garnered all-conference recognition in the shot put, while senior Ashley Lewis has also scored in the event. Juniors Sandy Antenor and Tiffany Sprenkels are returning ECAC qualifiers in the horizontal jumps. Lauren Biscardi, an all-conference honoree in the high jump at Notre Dame, who is currently enrolled in graduate school, was a two-time high school national champion who should be the heavy favorite to win the event at the America East meet, which will be hosted by Boston U. on Feb. 19-20.
America East Conference Preseason Men's Indoor Track & Field Poll
1. UAlbany (8), 64; 2. New Hampshire (1), 52; 3. Binghamton, 49; 4. UMBC, 41; 5. Boston U., 39; 6. Maine, 29; 7. Vermont, 25; 8. Stony Brook, 17; 9. Hartford, 8. ( ) - first-place votes
America East Conference Preseason Women's Indoor Track & Field Poll
1. Boston U. (6), 62; 2. UAlbany (2), 56; 3. New Hampshire (1), 52; 4. Maine, 35; 5. Vermont, 31; 6. Binghamton, 30; 7. Stony Brook, 29; 8. UMBC, 20; 9. Hartford, 9. ( ) - first-place votes
Courtesy: UAlbany Sports Information