Southern Meets Prove Fruitful For Outdoor Track
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C., and SAN JUAN, P.R. – The University at Albany track & field program split up for the first weekend of the 2015 outdoor season, dividing the team between the Shamrock Invitational in South Carolina and the Spring Break Classic in Puerto Rico. The Great Danes utilized their time off for spring break to travel south to warmer climates to open the outdoor season with the hope of utilizing their residual fitness from the recently-concluded indoor season to satisfy championship-season qualifying times early. Over the course of the two meets, the men’s team earned IC4A qualifying marks in 11 events, and the women earned ECAC qualifying marks in six events.
Athletes of the Meet: Dominique Claudio, Briana Cherry-Bronson, Robert Harris III, Matthew Campbell
Most of this weekend’s competitors attended Costal Carolina’s Shamrock Invitational. The meet, hosted in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, features a week of training time on the track before the three-day meet begins. In the Mayor’s Cup team standings, the UAlbany men tied for 11th with four points, and the women placed eighth with 10 points. The South Carolina men won the team competition with 35 points, and the Clemson and Costal Carolina women tied for first with 26 points.
The first day of competition was dominated by the first round of the men’s and women’s multis events, but there were other contested events as well. Jonathan Eustache was the first UAlbany athlete to compete at Shamrock, placing 14th in the men’s hammer throw, recording a personal best mark of 167’-8”. Cody Quantock placed 35th with a mark of 116’-3”.
Paige Vadnais placed fourth overall in the heptathlon, scoring 4,260 points. Mary Adeyeye placed 11th with a personal best 3,850 points. The first four events were contested on Thursday. In the 100 hurdles, Vadnais placed sixth in 15.59 and Adeyeye placed 12th in 17.07. Both times were wind-aided. In the shot put, Adeyeye placed first in a personal best 38’-9.5” and Vadnais tied for 10th in 28’-9”. In the high jump, Vadnais tied for third, clearing 4’-11.75” and Adeyeye tied for eighth, clearing 4’-9.5”. In Thursday’s final event, the 200, Vadnais placed second in 26.15 and Adeyeye placed 13th in 28.31. Like the 100 hurdles, both times were wind-aided.
The first five events of the men’s decathlon, as well as the men’s and women’s 10,000 were also contested on Thursday, but UAlbany did not field any athletes in those events.
The heptathlon’s final three events competed on Friday. In the long jump, Vadnais placed sixth in 16’-0.25” and Adeyeye placed 12th in 15’-2”. In the javelin, Vadnais placed eighth in a personal best 84’-3” and Adeyeye placed 11th in 73’-1”. In the final event of the heptathlon, the 800, Vadnais placed fourth in 2:29.73 and Adeyeye placed fifth in 2:34.52.
Friday also marked the first full day of competition at Shamrock, with a full slate of events on the schedule. Briana Cherry-Bronson placed second in the women’s seeded hammer throw, recording a personal best mark of 188’-1”, satisfying the ECAC standard. In the unseeded hammer throw, Chinwe Igwe placed seventh in 157”-10” and Lauren Lopano placed eighth 155’-7”.
In the men’s javelin, Philip Udeogu placed seventh in a personal best 194’-7”, and Anthony D’Angelo placed 13th in 164’-2”. Udeogu hit the IC4A standard. Rochelle Reid tied for fifth in the women’s seeded high jump, clearing 5’-5”. Min Pacella placed 14th, clearing 5’-3”.
Aiyanna James placed sixth in the women’s seeded long jump in 18’-5.75”. Niamani Morrison placed ninth in a wind-aided 18’-3”. Mande Semon placed 19th in the men’s seeded long jump, recording a mark of 21’-3.5”.
In Friday’s final field event, Kaytlin Mack placed sixth in the women’s pole vault, clearing a height of 11’-1.75”. Vadnais placed 12th, clearing 10’-8”.
Friday’s track events began with the preliminary round of the women’s 100, Kahlia Taylor placed 16th in 12.33, Taahria Butterfield placed 23rd in 12.49, Chanel Smith placed 25th in 12.51, and Alexx Baum placed 34th in 12.64. Robert Harris III qualified for finals in fourth place in the men’s 100 preliminary round in 10.84, satisfying the IC4A standard. Jaymen Teemer placed 17th in 11.14, Cherron Royal placed 21st in 11.23, and Carlton Fielding placed 28th in 11.31.
Morrison returned from the long jump to place 11th in the women’s 100 hurdles preliminary round in 14.74. Devon Willis placed 25th in the men’s 110 hurdles preliminary round in 15.70.
Valentina Talevi placed seventh in the women’s 5,000 in 17:49.28. Molly Pezzulo placed ninth in 18:17.90. Jessica Donohue placed 16th in 18:40.92. Kyle Gronostaj placed 17th in the men’s 5,000 in 15:21.23, ending competition on Friday.
Eustache returned to the throwing circle after a day off in between his events. He placed sixth in the men’s discus, recording a personal best mark of 156’-6”, satisfying the IC4A standard. Quantock placed 26th in 124’-11”. Eric Del Vescovo placed 28th in a personal best 121’-10”. Udeogu placed 30th in a personal best 115’-4”.
Johnson placed sixth in the women’s shot put in 44’-1.5”. Doolittle placed ninth in a personal best 41’-5.75”. Del Vescovo placed fifth in the men’s shot put in 50’-6.75”, his second personal best of the day.
Nathan Hiett won the men’s pole vault in 15’-11.25”, satisfying the IC4A standard. Matthew Campbell placed second in the men’s seeded high jump, clearing a height of 6’-11.75”, satisfying the IC4A standard.
Baum placed sixth in the women’s triple jump in 38’-10.25”. Jordan Crump-King won the men’s triple jump in a personal best 49’-4.25”, satisfying the IC4A standard. Willis placed third in 48’-9”, also satisfying the IC4A standard. Colonel Fakarode placed 12th in 45’-8.5”.
Pruyn opened up track events on Saturday for UAlbany, placing seventh in the women’s seeded mile, finishing in a personal best time of 5:04.26. J. Smith placed 15th in 5:12.88. Lovick placed 19th in 5:16.41. Christopher Buchanan placed fifth in the men’s seeded mile in 4:14.67. James Sommer placed 14th in 4:26.93 in his first collegiate mile.
The women’s 4x100 relay team of Baum, C. Smith, Taylor, and Butterfield placed seventh in 47.25, satisfying the ECAC standard. The men’s 4x100 relay team of Fielding, Royal, Teemer, and Harris III placed fifth in 41.87, satisfying the IC4A standard.
Harris III won the men’s 100, finishing in 10.62, defeating runner-up Kendall Kee from South Carolina by one one-thousandth at the line. The time is a wind-legal personal best and again satisfies the IC4A standard.
Dominique Claudio placed second in the women’s seeded 800, finishing in an outdoor best time of 2:12.24. Cummings placed 13th in 2:18.52, also an outdoor best. Buchanan placed 14th in the men’s seeded 800 in 1:57.66.
In the women’s seeded 200, Taylor placed eighth in 24.76. C. Smith placed 15th in a personal best 25.09. James placed 25th in 25.65. Butterfield placed 29th in 25.75. Teemer placed 10th in the men’s seeded 200 in 22.01. Royal placed 11th in 22.02. Fielding placed 35th in 23.33.
The final event of the Shamrock Invitational was the 3,000. Pezzulo placed ninth in the women’s 3,000 in 10:34.13. Sommer placed sixth in the men’s 3,000 in 8:43.08. Tyler Ranke placed 19th in 9:07.43.
Spring Break Classic
Athletes of the Meet: Grace Claxton, Veleisha Walker, Taariq Jones
The remaining student-athletes who were active this weekend visited Puerto Rico for the Spring Break Classic, which has become a traditional outdoor season-opening meet for UAlbany. The Great Danes brought 15 student-athletes to compete, primarily from Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Roberto Vives’ sprint group. UAlbany saw competition from three American Universities, Northeastern, St. John’s, and Bowdoin, as well as from 15 Puerto Rican universities. Unlike the Shamrock Invitational, which spread its competition over three days, the Spring Break Classic was a one-day affair, taking place entirely on Saturday.
Veleisha Walker was the only field event athlete to make the trip to Puerto Rico, where she competed in three throwing events. She placed third in the women’s shot put in 40’-4”, fourth in the women’s discus in a personal best 137’-1”, and third in her signature event, the women’s javelin in 131’-7”.
Puerto Rican native Grace Claxton, who is the reigning Puerto Rican 400 national champion and current Puerto Rican indoor national record holder in the 400, won the women’s 400 in 54.05. Halie Snyder was second in a collegiate best 55.88. Kamilah Williams was fifth in 57.73. Claxton and Snyder satisfied the ECAC standard.
Taariq Jones placed third in the men’s 400 in a new personal best time of 47.32. Jason Tomlinson was fourth in 47.71, also a personal best. Ryan Small was 19th in 51.08. Jones and Tomlinson satisfied the IC4A qualifying standard.
Akua Williams placed third in the women’s 400 hurdles in 1:05.59. Youssef Benzamia placed fourth in the men’s 400 hurdles in 53.91. Jeremiah Obeng-Agyapong placed sixth in 54.29. Sobaan Ayub was 13th in 58.57.
Claxton, doubling up from the 400, placed second in the women’s 200 in 24.29, satisfying the ECAC standard. UAlbany alumnus Ricardo Estremera won the men’s 3,000 in 8:35.39. Finally, the men’s 4x400 relay of Jones, Benzamia, Obeng-Agyapong, and Tomlinson placed second in 3:13.90, satisfying the IC4A standard.
As spring break ends, the Great Danes will return home and turn their attention to another split weekend. Saturday, March 28 marks the first of four scheduled home events for UAlbany this season, the Quad Meet featuring Albany College of Pharmacy, Cobleskill, Plattsburgh, Vermont, and Saint Rose. The team is also scheduled to compete in the Raleigh Relays hosted by N.C. State starting Friday, March 27.