Track & Field/Cross Country Announces 2018 Recruits
ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany track & field and cross country program has announced an incoming recruiting class of 25 student-athletes for the upcoming 2018-19 season. Nineteen women and six men will join the top squad in the America East, including two local recruits, seven transfer students, and two international students.
From the Capital Region, Brenda Santana will join the team after competing for Amsterdam High School. She will bolster the women’s sprint program, bringing personal-bests of 7.54 in the 55m, 12.70 in the 100m, and 26.16 in the 200m. The men’s team will welcome the arrival of Tyree Gonzales from the LaSalle Institute, who has recorded personal bests of 6-04.00 in the high jump.
The international students include Jan Michael Gutierrez Almedina, who joins the program from Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico. Gutierrez sports personal best marks of 10.59 for 100m, 21.24 for 200m, 34.81 for 300m, and 47.43 for 400m. In 2018 he was both the LAI National Collegiate and Puerto Rico National Champion in the 200m. Also arriving from overseas is Venique Harris, who is transferring from the University of the West Indies at Mona. Harris comes in as a seasoned veteran with a personal best throw of 193’ 6” in the Discus, a mark that would have placed fourth at the 2018 NCAA Division I Championships. She was the 2017 Jamaican Intercol National Champion in the discus.
Additional transfer students include sprinter Camille Cameron, who attended St. Thomas Aquinas College after graduating from North Rockland High School in 2016. She brings personal bests of 7.76 in the 60m, 12.24 in the 100m, 25.14 in the 200m, 39.51 in the 300m, and 57.38 in the 400m. Kelly Iocca transfers from the University of Rhode Island after graduating Connetquot High School in 2017, and holds personal bests of 4:43.00 in the 1,500m, 10:08.02 in the 3,000m, and 6:51.60 in the 2,000m Steeplechase, an event in which she placed third at the 2017 New Balance Outdoor Nationals. Chidinma Matthew transfers from La Salle University after graduating from Yonkers High School in 2017. A sprinter, Matthew holds personal bests of 12.25 in the 100m and 25.01 in the 200m. She placed third indoors and fourth outdoors in the 200m at last year’s Atlantic-10 Championships.
The men’s transfer students include Jon Messler, who arrives from SUNY Delhi after graduating Washingtonville High School in 2016. Messler will add depth to the men’s distance squad with a personal best of 9:30.42 in the 3,200m on the track, and cross country bests of 15:21.20 in the 5K and 25:49.00 in the 8K. The final transfer is James Tierney from Sullivan Community College, a graduate of Tri Valley High School in 2016. Tierney will join the hurdle squad with personal bests of 8.02 in the 55m hurdles, 15.16 in the 110m hurdles, and 55.25 in the 400m hurdles.
The women will bring in a total of 19 recruits this season. Leading the charge is Sophia Myers, the reigning indoor and outdoor NY State Champion for the both 55m hurdles and 100m hurdles. Myers has personal best performances of 7.78 in the 55m hurdles, 8.67 in the 60m hurdles, 13.86, in the 100m hurdles, 1:04.00 in the 400m hurdles, 7.25 in the 55m, 12.14 in the 100m, 24.72 in the 200m, and 39.73 in the 300m. Beyond the track, Myers has recorded marks of 5-05.00 in the high jump, 3,008 points in the pentathlon, and 5,084 points in the heptathlon. Myers’ heptathlon best exceeds the current UAlbany school record by nearly 70 points.
The Great Danes also welcome five additional throwers to add more depth to an already strong throws group. Shelby Bigsby, from Montclair High School, holds a personal best of 132-10.00 in the discus, including a second place finish at the 2018 New Jersey Outdoor State Championships. In the shot put, Bigsby has recorded a mark of 50-02.00, and placed second at the 2018 New Balance Outdoor Nationals in the event following her 2018 individual indoor and outdoor state title. Bigsby was the top-ranked high school shot putter in the country this past indoor season, and was the only female to throw over 50’. She was also the New Balance Indoor Nationals champion in 2017. Ludith Campos has thrown 160-00.00 in the hammer throw, ranking her 16th in the country, 47-01.25 in the weight throw, and 115-08.00 in the discus, placing 12th the 2018 New Balance Outdoor Nationals in the latter event. She further placed sixth at the 2018 Millrose Games in the weight throw, where she holds a personal best of 47-01.25. Shiana Galette-Rowe, from Ramapo High School, arrives with personal best of 114-08.00 in the discus and 38-06.50 in the shot put. Lynne Gbadamosi from Deer Park High School, who placed fifth in the shot put at the 2018 New York State Outdoor Championships, holds personal bests of 109-09.00 in the discus, 41-05.74 in the shot put. The final women’s thrower recruit is Brit Membreno from Massapequa. Membreno holds a personal best of 129-02.00 in the discus, and won the event at the 2016 New York State Outdoor Championships.
Alicia Grady, from Arlington High School, will join the mid-distance group with personal bests of 58.64 in the 400m and 2:15.34 in the 800m. Kaylen Mercado, also from Arlington, joins the team with personal bests of 35-07.50 in the triple jump, 8.62 in the 55m hurdles, and 15.53 in the 100m hurdles.
Sprinter Kayla Meade from Cornwall High School joins the sprint group. Meade placed third in the 100m and 10th in the 200m at the 2018 New York State Outdoor Championships and holds personal bests of 12.22, 25.16, and 41.46 for 300m. Middle-distance runner Noreen Guilfoyle, from Mount Sinai High School, brings personal bests of 4:45.11 in the 1,500m and 7:07.25 in the 2,000m Steeplechase. Samantha Rutt, from Ward Melville High School, has range from 400m to 1,500m, holding personal bests of 58.45 for 400m, 2:14.07 for 800m, 2:58.44 for 1,000m and 4:38.02 for 1,500m respectively.
Stephanie Hyde from Rush-Henrietta High School will look to bolster the Great Danes’ multis squad, boasting a pentathlon point total of 3,237 which placed her fifth at the 2018 New York State Outdoor Championships, as well as a long jump best of 19-04.75. Samantha Martinez, a graduate of Bound Brook High School, arrives with a pole vault best of 11-01.00. Finally, EJ Onah, from Ithaca High School, joins the team with a long jump best of 19-02.00, having placed ninth at the 2018 New Balance Indoor Nationals and third at the 2016 New York State Outdoor Championships.
The remaining men’s recruits include Robert Blue from Harrison High School. A jumper, Blue has recorded personal bests of 23-04.00 in the long jump and 47-09.75 in the triple jump, earning runner-up finishes at both the New York State Indoor and Outdoor Championships in 2018 in the latter. Finally, Matt Semon, from Middlesex High School, holds a personal best of 182-00.00 in the discus, placing fourth at the 2017 New Jersey Outdoor State Championships, and 52-09.50 in the shot put.
Last season, the Great Danes won three of the four America East track & field titles, bringing the program total to 50 since moving to Division I. The women's program also won their first-ever ECAC Outdoor title.