Track & Field Names Team Captains
ALBANY, N.Y. – On the eve of the 2016-17 season, the University at Albany men’s and women’s track & field programs announced their team captains. Four women and four men were selected by their teammates to lead the Great Danes through the upcoming season.
Two seniors and two juniors make up the latest group of women’s captains. Two of the four are repeat captains, while the remaining two are serving their first stints as captain.
Senior Mary Adeyeye from Mohegan Lake, New York, is serving as captain for the second consecutive year. Adeyeye specializes in the multis events, holds program rankings of second in the pentathlon, third in the heptathlon, and ninth in the outdoor shot put. Last year, she led the team indoors in the pentathlon, and outdoors in the javelin.
Senior Grace Claxton from San Juan, Puerto Rico, is also serving in her second consecutive year as team captain. Claxton is one of UAlbany’s most decorated student-athletes. She holds school records in the indoor and outdoor 400m, the 400m hurdles, and in the indoor 4x400m relay, and the 4x100m relay. She has won 10 America East titles (seven individual, three relay), and four ECAC titles. Last season, Claxton became the first-ever UAlbany student-athlete to win a Penn Relays Championship event, when she won the 400m hurdles. Claxton went on to qualify for NCAA Outdoor Championships in the same event, where she placed ninth overall, earning Second-Team All-America honors. Later that summer, Claxton placed 14th in the 400m hurdles in the Olympic Games, competing for her native Puerto Rico.
Junior Tara Belinsky from Locust Valley, New York, is one of the women’s first-time captains. A thrower, Belinsky is in her second year at UAlbany after transferring from Connecticut. She ranks sixth in program history in the indoor shot put and seventh in the outdoor shot put. Last season, Belinsky led the team in the indoor shot put.
Junior Halie Snyder from Mineville, New York, is the second of the women’s first-time captains. Snyder arrived at UAlbany the same year as Claxton, and has ranked second behind her in the 400m each season they have run together. Snyder ranks third all-time in the outdoor 400m, and fourth in the outdoor 400m. She also holds freshman records in the indoor and outdoor 400m.
The men’s captains are made up of three seniors and one junior. All four men’s captains are first-timers. They replace two mutli-year captains in Alexander Bowen and Taariq Jones who graduated in the spring.
Senior Stefan Buechele from Pleasant Valley, New York, like Adeyeye, specializes in the multis. Buechele placed third last year in the heptathlon at the America East Indoor Championships, and fifth at the IC4A Indoor Championships. He ranks ninth in program history in the heptathlon, and led the team in the event last season.
Senior Matthew Campbell from Spanish Town, Jamaica, is the most decorated of the men’s captains. He ranks second in program history in the indoor and outdoor high jump, and is one of two returning members from the trio (Bowen, Kingsley Ogbonna) of UAlbany high jumpers who cleared 7-00.00 in the event last season. The only other program in the country with the same depth in the men’s high jump was Kansas State. Campbell has won two America East titles, and one IC4A title. Last season, Campbell placed seventh in the high jump at NCAA Outdoor Championships, earning First-Team All-America honors.
Senior Jonathan Eustache from Rosedale, New York, is the men’s top thrower. He holds the school record in the weight throw, and ranks second in the discus and fifth in the hammer. In 2016, Eustache finally broke through and won the discus and the hammer at the America East Outdoor Championships. Last season, he led the team in the weight throw, the discus, and the hammer.
Junior Kyle Gronostaj is the only distance runner and local product among the 2016-17 captains. Hailing from East Greenbush, New York and Columbia High School, Gronostaj has been one of the top two runners for the men’s cross country team each of the last two seasons. Specializing particularly in the long distance events, Gronostaj was one of three Great Danes in his freshman year to qualify for USATF Junior Outdoor Championships, where he placed fourth in the 10,000m. He ranks seventh all-time in the indoor 5,000m and ninth in the 10,000m. He also holds the freshman record for the outdoor 5,000m. Last season, Gronostaj led the team in the indoor 5,000m.
The Great Danes will hold their annual intrasquad scrimmage Thursday and Friday this week. The season begins in earnest in January.