Outdoor Track Wraps Raleigh Relays
Athletes of the Meet: Grace Claxton, Janice Johnson, Jason Tomlinson, Jonathan Eustache
RALEIGH, N.C. – For the second consecutive weekend, the University at Albany outdoor track and field schedule had the Great Danes competing in a southern meet. Last week, the team split up for the Shamrock Invitational in South Carolina and the Spring Break Classic in Puerto Rico. This week, the team visited North Carolina for North Carolina State’s Raleigh Relays.
It was the first time since the 2011 season that UAlbany attended this meet. Only 15 student-athletes made the trip, a group composed of sprinters, throwers, and hurdlers. Their teammates remained home for what would have been the first of four home events for the team in the UAlbany Open, but that meet was cancelled early this week due to the impending inclement weather. Instead, those student-athletes enjoyed a weekend free of competition, and will tune their focus exclusively towards training for the next few weeks before they compete again.
The Relays ran over two days on Friday and Saturday. The meet features about 50-60 teams, primarily from the south. The competition largely exceeds what UAlbany can expect at conference championships, but the exposure to a more talented field offers the Great Danes with valuable experience moving forward.
As he was last weekend, Jonathan Eustache was the first UAlbany student-athlete to compete. He placed seventh in the college division of the men’s discus, recording a mark of 151’-3”. Janice Johnson placed third in the women’s shot put, throwing 43’-1.75”
Jaymen Teemer placed 16th in the preliminary round of the men’s 100, finishing in 11.07. Derek Boland placed 29th in 11.18. Kahlia Taylor placed 26th in the preliminary round of the women’s 100 in 12.55. Chanel Smith placed 35th in12.66.
Jason Tomlinson placed 10th in the men’s 400 in 48.16. Taariq Jones placed 13th in 48.42. Both Tomlinson and Jones set personal bests in Puerto Rico last weekend. Grace Claxton placed second in the women’s 400 in 55.30. Kamilah Williams placed 49th in 58.86. Finally, Lauren Lopano placed 16th in the college division of the women’s discus, recording a mark of 118’-10”, closing out the first day of competition for UAlbany.
Hurdlers opened the meet’s second day for UAlbany. Youssef Benzamia placed seventh in the men’s 400 hurdles in 54.49. Jeremiah Obeng-Agyapong placed 19th in 55.39. Claxton made her career debut in the women’s 400 hurdles, placing third overall in 1:01.50. The mark ranks eighth all-time in school history and satisfies the ECAC standard.
Lauren Lopano placed 35th in the women’s hammer throw, recording a mark of 141’-6”. Acacia Larson, making her UAlbany debut, placed 42nd in 132’-7”. Jaymen Teemer placed seventh in the men’s 200 in 22.35. Finally, the men’s 4x400 relay team placed second overall in 3:14.06, UAlbany’s last event of the meet. Taariq Jones led off in 48.5, followed by Tomlinson in 47.1, Obeng-Agyapong in 49.9, and Benzamia in 48.2.
“We won our heat and ran a great race under the cold and windy conditions,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Roberto Vives of the men’s 4x400. “We were second overall and beat some great teams, including GW Express who ran with Olympian Bershawn Jackson.”
The small contingent of student-athletes will now return to Albany and rejoin their teammates for the extended training cycle. The next event on the calendar is the Connecticut Quad Meet on April 11. After that, the Great Danes will finally open home competition with the UAlbany Spring Classic, which has expanded to two days, and will run April 17-18.