Track & Field Announces 2018-19 Team Captains
ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany track & field program has announced eight student-athletes, four men and four women, as team captains for the upcoming 2018-19 indoor and outdoor seasons. Three of the eight have been team captains previously, while the remaining five will take on the role for the first time this season.
Tara Belinsky was named team captain for the third straight season. Belinsky, a thrower from Locust Valley, N.Y., competes in four throwing events between the indoor and outdoor seasons, but specializes in the shot put. Her indoor mark of 50-00.00 last season is the indoor and overall program record, and is the first mark of 50’ in women’s program history. Last season, Belinsky won the shot put at the America East Outdoor Championships, while placing sixth in the discus and 11th in the hammer. She later placed fifth in the shot put at ECAC Outdoor Championships. Indoors, Belinsky placed second at the America East Indoor Championships in the shot put and fourth in the weight throw. Belinsky, a graduate student, will compete during the outdoor season only, having exhausted her indoor eligibility. She finished her indoor career holding the program record in the shot put and ranking fifth in the weight throw. Outdoors, Belinsky ranks second in the shot put and eighth in the hammer.
Walter Briggs, a hurdler from Kingston, N.Y., was named captain for the first time. Last season Briggs, a senior, was the lone UAlbany representative to compete at either NCAA Indoor or Outdoor Championships, placing 19th in the 400m hurdles. Earlier in the season, Briggs won the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay at America East Outdoor Championships, while placing second behind teammate Sidney Gibbons in the 110m hurdles. Indoors, Briggs took home the 500m America East Indoor title. He currently ranks third in program history in the 400m hurdles and tied for fifth in the 500m with teammate Myles Banfield.
David Carlson, a thrower from Kingston, N.Y., is a first-time captain selection. Like Belinsky, Carlson, a senior, competes in four throwing events across the two seasons. Last season, he scored in four of five events in which he competed at America East Indoor and Outdoor Championships, placing second at the indoor meet in the shot put, and outdoors placed third in the discus, sixth in the hammer, and seventh in the shot put. During the indoor season, he also placed third overall in the weight throw at IC4A Indoor Championships. Carlson currently ranks third in program history in the weight throw, sixth in the hammer, seventh in the discus, and ninth in the outdoor shot put.
Kyle Gronostaj, a distance runner from East Greenbush, N.Y., was, like Belinsky, named team captain for the third straight season, and is one of two local products among this year’s eight captains. Gronostaj, a graduate student, returns to action for the Great Danes after sitting out the most recent cross country season having exhausted his cross country eligibility. Last year, following an injury-shortened indoor season that still saw him place 10th overall in the 5,000m at IC4A Indoor Championships, Gronostaj bounced back during the outdoor season, setting the school record in the 10,000m and becoming the first-ever Great Dane to break the 30-minute mark in the event. Gronostaj further placed second and third in the 10,000m and 5,000m at the America East Outdoor Championships, respectively, and third in the 5,000m at the IC4A Outdoor Championships, setting a new school record in the latter race. Beyond his school records in the outdoor 5,000m and the 10,000m, Gronostaj currently ranks second indoors in the 3,000m and 5,000m behind former teammate Ryan Udvadia, and fourth in the outdoor 3,000m.
Anika Hibbard, a high-jumper from Bedford, N.Y., was named captain for the first time. Hibbard, a senior, is the best women’s high jumper in program history, holding both the indoor and outdoor record in the event. Last season, Hibbard briefly continued her dabbling in the pentathlon before focusing on her signature event. She went on to win the high jump at the America East Indoor and Outdoor Championships, as well as the ECAC Outdoor Championships, while placing fourth at ECAC Indoor Championships.
Kiyah Owens, a sprinter from Great Neck, N.J., was named captain for the first time. Owens, a junior, won her first America East title last season, claiming victory in her signature event, the 400m, at the America East Indoor Championships, and then earned her second conference title as a member of the 4x400m relay in the same meet. Outdoors, Owens placed fourth in the 400m at conference championships before placing third at ECAC Outdoor Championships. Owens currently ranks second in program history in the indoor 400m, fourth in the 300m, and fifth in the outdoor 400m.
Hannah Reinhardt, a distance runner from Clarence, N.Y., was named captain for the first time. Reinhardt, a junior, is coming off one of the most successful individual cross country seasons in program history. She won four of six races in which she competed, set the school record, as recorded by average mile time, in the 5K two times, moved into third place in program history in the 6K, and became UAlbany’s first-ever individual America East XC champion while leading the women’s team to their first America East XC title in program history. Last year, she won the 5,000m at the America East Indoor Championships while placing third in the 3,000m. She later finished second in the 5,000m at ECAC Indoor Championships. Outdoors, she set a new program record in the 3,000m at the Penn Relays, placing ninth overall. She placed second in the 10,000m at the America East Outdoor Championships, and won the 5,000m at the ECAC Outdoor Championships. In each of the latter three races, she set personal bests. Apart from her program record in the outdoor 3,000m, Reinhardt currently ranks second in program history in both the indoor and outdoor 5,000m, second in the indoor mile, fourth in the indoor 3,000m, fourth in the 10,000m, and eighth in the outdoor 1,500m.
Devon Willis, a jumper from Schenectady, N.Y., is the second local product among the captains. He earns his second-consecutive captainship and third overall. Willis, a graduate student, started to compete in the hurdles again during the latest outdoor season after taking a multi-year reprieve from the event. He won the triple jump at the America East Outdoor Championships, setting the program record in the process. He also placed sixth in the 110m hurdles, and later placed second in the triple jump at the IC4A Outdoor Championships. Willis currently holds the program record in the outdoor triple jump outright, and shares the record in the indoor triple jump.
Last season, the women swept the indoor and outdoor America East team titles for the sixth-straight season. The men saw their streak of 13-straight indoor conference titles snapped by UMass Lowell, but bounced back to win their 14th-straight outdoor title, keeping the streak of 10-straight men’s and women’s outdoor titles alive.