Saturday, May 2, 2009

2009 America East Outdoor Track & Field Championship

The 2009 America East Outdoor Track & Field Championship will be held at Binghamton University where the University at Albany men will pursue their fifth consecutive title while the Boston University women will look to repeat as champions. The Championship begins Saturday, May 2, at 10 a.m. and will conclude Sunday with the awards ceremony.

The Great Danes enter the Outdoor Track & Field Championship with nine student athletes, seven men and two women, and one relay squad already qualified for the NCAA East Regional Championship. The men’s squad is pursuing its fifth-consecutive outdoor title after earning its fourth crown at this year’s indoor championship. The Albany men won the 2009 Indoor IC4A Championship for the first time in conference history and its sprint medley relay team has already been named IC4A Champion for the outdoor event. In their senior seasons, standouts Joe Greene, Jean Juste and Ricardo Estremera will look to continue their dominance in the Track & Field Championships, already having won the team trophy every single conference meet of their careers so far. On the women’s side, seniors Laura Cummings, who qualified in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and Kamilah McShine, who qualified in the 100-meter high hurdles and 400-meter intermediate hurdles, look to regain their title after Boston University dethroned them last year.

The Bearcats, the host of the 2009 America East Outdoor Track & Field Championship, were chosen to finish third among the men’s squads and sixth among the women. Erik van Ingen will face Boston University’s David Proctor in the 1,500-meter run in what could be one of the most exciting races of the weekend. Proctor and van Ingen are seeded first and second, respectively, just over two seconds apart. Joanel Lopez, a senior, is the second seed in the shot put and will lead the Bearcats in the throwing events. For the women, junior Jasmine Hinson is seeded third in the 400-meter dash and classmate Caitlin Wright is in the third spot for the 400-meter intermediate hurdles. Senior Carly Gross and junior Kiki Gifft are seeded third and fourth, respectively, in the pole vault and will be the leaders for the women in the field events.

The Terriers have a strong graduating class that could be the difference-maker this weekend. For the women, who were preseason favorites to defend their title, Tahari James will be a major point-scorer in the field events as last year’s Coaches’ Award recipient and the defending champion of the long jump and triple jump events. Andrea Walkonen, who has automatically qualified for the NCAA Championship in the 10,000-meter run, holds the second fastest time in the nation and is en route to being named an All-American for the third time this academic year. For the men, the throwing pair of Jan Bicanic, a senior, and Dan Withrow, a sophomore, will be valuable assets to the Terriers in the field.

Hartford’s senior Anthony Oluwanifise and freshman Nigel Nimoh have both had breakout years in the field and will look to break in to the top 10 finishers in the triple jump. For the women, the Hawks will rely heavily on Elizabeth Foster who is qualified for the NCAA Regional Championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and is seeded third in the field. Kaycee Martinez is seeded fifth in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles and could have an impact for the Hawks as a point-scorer.

The Black Bear women return last year’s Most Outstanding Track Performer Allyson Howatt, a junior, and will look for her to break out at the tournament and score points. Vicki Tolton, a senior, also returns to defend her title in the 400-meter dash. For the men, freshman Riley Masters hopes to make an impact in the distance category and is seeded second in the 5,000-meter run behind Stony Brook’s Tim Hodge. Masters edged Hodge out of first place to capture the 2009 indoor title in the 3,000-meter run. Junior Miles Bartlett has the third-fastest time in the conference for the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and will look to improve upon his third-place finish at last year’s championship.

UMBC’s Imani Colbert missed first place in the 55-meter hurdles by a mere 0.07 seconds for this year’s indoor title and the freshman will look to take first with the experience of an America East Championship now under her belt. The Retriever men hold the top seed in the 4x100-meter relay and will rely on Victor Gilreath, who has qualified for the NCAA Regional Championship in the triple jump, to score points for the Retrievers. Adrian Arthur, a junior, holds the fastest 200-meter dash time in America East, and is expected to lead his squad on the track.

The Wildcat men, who were chosen to finish second by the coaches in the preseason poll, finished just behind the Great Danes last year and will rely on a strong showing from senior Robert Edgerton, the defending champion of the 1,500-meter run. Edgerton will need to pick up the points lost to the graduation of last year’s Most Outstanding Track Performer and Coaches’ Award recipient Jordan Horowitz. In the field, sophomore Brice Paey has qualified for the NCAA regional tournament in the shot put and enters the championship as the high seed. Patrick Casey, the high jump’s top seed, will look to end his career on a high note and improve upon his second-place finish in the event last year. For the women, Camille Quarles is expected to continue her successful sophomore season after breaking her own school record in the triple jump just last weekend. Quarles is seeded fourth in the triple jump but will have to out leap last year’s first- and second-place duo of Boston University’s James and Whitney Ford, respectively.

The Van Dalen twins from Stony Brook will be sure to turn some heads at this year’s championship as Lucy has broken the school’s 3,000-meter steeplechase record in her last three races and is seeded atop the field in the 800-meter run. Sister Holly, 2008’s Rookie of the Year, returns to defend her title in the 1,500-meter run. The men’s strength is in the distance events and the junior trio of Tim Hodge, the 2008 Cross Country individual champion, Alex Felce, runner up in last year’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, and Daire Bermingham will be dangerous on the track.

The Catamount women were chosen to finish fourth while the men were tabbed seventh in the preseason coaches’ poll. Senior standout Jan Carlson is seeded second in the 200-meter dash and seventh in the 400-meter dash and should be a major point-scorer for her squad. Freshman Elyse Ogletree is in the second slot for the women’s javelin, leading the squad in the field events. For the men, junior Aaron Campbell enters the championship leading the conference with his time of 10.38 in the 100-meter dash and will look to defend his title in the event from last year. Classmate Doug Maisey holds the second-fastest time in America East in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, and the Catamounts return their entire 4x100-meter relay squad that won the title last year.

Courtesy: AESports

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