Indoor Track Wraps Opening Round At IC4A/ECAC Championships
BOSTON – For all but one University at Albany athlete, the indoor track season will come to a close this weekend at IC4A or ECAC Championships in Boston. The roster has already trimmed down significantly since the America East Championships two weeks ago, as the only eligible athletes to compete in this weekend’s meet are those who have hit qualifying standards during the season.
Senior captain Matthew Catera kicked things off for UAlbany, competing Friday in the first four events of the heptathlon. Catera was fifth after the first day, and improved his standing in the final three events to finish second overall, scoring 5,137 points, improving on his mark of 5,030 from earlier this season. Catera’s individual marks were better than his previous effort in the event across the board.
The men competed first on Saturday, running through all of their events before the women took the track. Senior Kareem Morris qualified for semi-finals first in the 60 with a time of 6.90. Also qualifying were senior Donald Williams Jr. in 10th in 7.00, and freshman Robert Harris III in 16th in 7.05.
Junior John DeLallo won his preliminary heat of the mile in 4:08.80, qualifying third for finals. The mark is a personal best for DeLallo by just under two seconds, and jumps up one spot to eighth on UAlbany’s all-time indoor list.
UAlbany’s depth in the men’s high jump was on display once again. National qualifier Alexander Bowen placed third overall with a mark of 7’-2.25”. He tied on height with second place and top seed Blair Montez from Cornell, but lost the tiebreaker on failed attempts at previous heights. Freshman Matthew Campbell tied for fourth with two other athletes. Campbell, Manhattan’s Mohamed Koita, and Liberty’s Zach Davis all jumped 6’-10.25” with the same amount of misses at earlier heights. Finally, freshman Kingsley Ogbonna also jumped 6’-10.25”, which was a new personal best, but placed eighth on prior misses. Still, UAlbany scored three athletes in the event overall.
Moving to the relays, UAlbany’s distance medley relay team of Zachary Cook (3:04.9), Joshua Wray (55.7), Raymond Farinella (1:55.2), and Chris Buchanan (4:09.6), ran 10:05.67 and qualified for finals in 7th place. Wray lost about six seconds on the clock after getting hit and dropping the baton. Farinella and Buchanan made up for the misfortune on the final two legs to earn a qualifying spot into finals.
But the big result on the day was UAlbany’s 4x800 relay team, which qualified for finals in first place, running 7:27.68. The same team that won the event at conference championships, Dylan Lowry (1:52.9), Larry Ramirez (1:52.2), Andrew Pirnie (1:51.5), and Youness Benzaid (1:50.8) took to the track today to earn the qualifying spot. The mark is nearly six seconds faster than the previous season best, and is the second fastest time in UAlbany history.
The 4x400 relay team of Taariq Jones (48.6), Jeremiah Obeng-Agyapong (48.9), Jason Tomlinson (48.2), and Ryan Small (49.1) ran their fastest time of the year at 3:15.22, finishing in 11th place in the preliminary round.
Following the conclusion of the men’s events, the women took to the track for their own championship. Senior captain Jillian Haynes kicked things off for the UAlbany women, qualifying for semi-finals in 12th place with a time of 7.62 She will be joined in the semis by sophomore Kahlia Taylor, who qualified 15th in 7.65. Semi-finals were run later Saturday afternoon, and although Haynes matched her preliminary time, neither she nor Taylor advanced to finals.
Senior captain Kathryn Fanning, defending champion in the mile, qualified for finals in the same event in first with a time of 4:51.28. Junior Michelle Anthony also qualified in first place in the 60 hurdles in a new personal best time of 8.54. Senior captain Tynelle Taylor-Chase also qualified for finals in the 60 hurdles with a time of 8.87.
In the 800, senior Brianne Bellon qualified sixth in the 800 with a new personal best time of 2:09.95, improving on her previous best, set earlier this year at the Columbia Invitational, by nearly a second. Rochelle Reid placed fourth in the high jump with a mark of 5’-6” in her last competition until next year’s indoor season.
Haynes returned to action in the 200, qualifying in ninth place for finals with a time of 24.34, which is an indoor personal best that also bumps her from third to second on UAlbany’s all-time indoor list. Taylor, also doubling in the 200, hit a new personal best herself in 24.53, which actually matches Haynes’ previous best, and moves Taylor into third all-time at UAlbany.
Senior Silvia Del Fava claimed yet another victory, this time in the 5,000. She won the event with a time of 16:27.69, improving her own school record by 12 seconds. Valentina Talevi placed 19th in the same race, recording a new personal best of 17:15.25.
The women concluded the first day of track competition setting a new school record in the 4x400m relay. The team of Aderinsola Ajala (56.7), Dominique Claudio (55.9), Kamilah Williams (56.6), and Taylor-Chase (54.7) qualified for finals in seventh place running 3:44.19, besting the old mark of 3:45.73 set this year at the Collegiate Invitational.
The men sit in third place after the first full day of competition with 19 points. Cornell leads the way with 30, followed by Liberty with 25. The women are in fifth with 14 points. Liberty, Coppin State, defending champion Connecticut, and Lafayette make up the top four women’s teams. Most of the team points will be earned tomorrow, as only final events will be contested. As far as the relays are concerned, particularly with the men’s 4x800 and the women’s 4x400, the marks the teams ran put UAlbany in good standing for seed times at the Penn Relays in April.
Competition kicks off Sunday at 9:30 a.m. with the men’s long jump. Events on the track begin with the men’s 60 finals at 11:15 a.m.