Outdoor Track Readies for America East Championships
ALBANY, N.Y.—The University at Albany track & field program will make its way to the University of Vermont for the 2016 America East Outdoor Championships. Both the men’s and women’s team are looking to defend their championship title from the indoor season. The men are 11-time consecutive defending outdoor champions and the women are seven-time consecutive defending champions. Entering outdoor championships, Great Dane men hold the top spot in nine events, and the Great Dane women are tops in seven. The meet begins Saturday, May 7 at 10:00 a.m.
“We’re excited for the weekend,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Roberto Vives. “The student-athletes are feeling the energy. They’re motivated and ready to go. I’m thankful for their commitment and the coaches, staff, and volunteers. We’re in a good place with all the support that’s contributed to our success.”
The Great Danes were able to scope out the facility earlier in the season when they competed against Vermont in a dual meet.
“I think having been here before our student athletes are familiar with the facility, warms up areas, throwing circles, high jump bibs, and everything,” said Vives. That was definitely a plus and that’s the difference during championship time. ”
Stony Brook was originally scheduled to host the outdoor championships, which rotate through the conference’s member institutions each year, but due to facility issues, the Sea Wolves were unable to host. As a result, Vermont took on the role, hosting the championship for the second time in three years. They previously held the 2014 conference championship.
WOMEN’S 2015 CHAMPIONSHIP REVIEW
Last year, the UAlbany women’s track and field squad defended its America East Conference title for the seventh time in as many years, and for the 10th time in 11 years. The women scored 227 points to win the team competition. UMBC placed second with 169 points, and New Hampshire placed third with 153.16 points.
The women’s team won the Coaching Staff of the Year award following their victory. In total, the women claimed victory in seven events. Women’s competitors across all schools set five new championship records and 11 new facility records. UAlbany women set five new school records.
Returning Champions include: Zoe Doolittle in the discus. Part of the 4x100 team Kahlia Taylor, Chanel Smith, Taahira Butterfield, and Grace Claxton. Grace Claxton in the 400m hurdles and in the 400m. The 4x800 team of Nira Lovick Breanna Cummings, Dominique Claudio, and Schuyler Pruyn.
“Our student-athletes are prepared,” said Vives. “It’s going to be a battle, especially on the women’s side. New Hampshire and UAlbany can both score over 180 points. It’s going to be close, but that’s why we compete. Its’ going to be competitive and the team that shows up are going to be champions.”
MEN’S 2015 CHAMPIONSHIP REVIEW
Last year, the UAlbany men’s track and field team won its 11th consecutive America East Outdoor Championship meet, and its 12th in the last 13 years. The men scored 192.5 points to win the team competition. UMBC was second, scoring 126 points, and Binghamton placed third, scoring 113.5 points.
The men took home three championship awards, including Coaching Staff of the year for the men’s coaches, Most Outstanding Rookie for Devon Willis, and the Coaches’ Award for the highest point-scorer for Jaymen Teemer, who scored 22 points in three events. The men claimed victory in five events.
“The men have to execute, perform to their best abilities, and not take the past championships for granted,” said Vives. “We have to compete.”
GREAT DANES IN THE REGIONAL RANKINGS
The men have regionally-ranked performances in 12 events. Alexander Bowen is first in the men’s high jump for the Northeast with a mark of 7’2¼”. Taariq Jones is second in the 400 (46.86). Robert Harris III is second in the 100 (10.43). The men’s 4x400 relay team of Momodou Jobe, Jason Tomlinson, Myles Banfield, andJaymen Teemer are second with a time of 3:09.00. Kingsley Ogbonna and Matthew Campbell, both tied for third, jumping 7’-1”. Myles Banfield is third in the 400 (46.93). Jonathan Eustache is fourth in the discus (168-10 ). Devon Willis is fifth in the triple jump (50-4). Phillip Udeogu is eighth in the javelin (204-11).
The women have regionally-ranked performances six events. Anika Hibbard is first in the Northeast in the women’s high jump (5’9.25”). Grace Claxton is third in the 400 hurdles (56.69). Solène Bastien is fourth in the women’s triple jump (40-5½). The women’s 4x100 relay of Stephanie Osuji, Chanel Smith, Grace Claxton, and Taahira Butterfield is sixth (45.80). Adernsola Ajala is seventh in the 400 hurdles (1:00.23). Paige Vadnais is seventh in the heptathlon with 4,825.
GOING FOR THE SWEEP
“We’ve had a great run in America East Conference,” said Vives. “The men are going for their 12th consecutive title and the women for their eighth. It’s unbelievable.”
“Our goal as coaches is for the team to do their best,” Vives said. “The work is done. It’s championship time. This is what we train for. We want them to leave it all on the track and field.”
Competition kicks off Saturday, May 7 at 10:00 a.m. with the first event in the men’s decathlon as well as the men’s hammer throw. The women’s heptathlon begins at 10:30 a.m. Saturday’s track events begin at 1:00 p.m. with the men’s 1,500m prelims. The first day of competition features finals in two track events, as well as finals in all contested field events. The remaining track event finals will take place on Sunday, as will the finals in the field events not contested on Saturday.