Track & Field Announces 2017-18 Captains
ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany track & field program has announced its men’s and women’s captains for the upcoming 2017-18 season. Each of the six individuals are seniors, and four are repeat selections.
"This is a great group of leaders that represent all of our event training groups," said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Roberto Vives. "We are excited for the new season and have high goals."
Nichole Anderson is one of the two first-time captains. A hurdler from East Northport, N.Y., Anderson placed fourth in the 100m hurdles at the 2017 America East Outdoor Championships, and eighth in the 60m hurdles at the 2017 America East Indoor Championships. Last year, she started competing in the long jump, where she ultimately placed seventh at outdoor championships.
Tara Belinsky returns as team captain for the second consecutive season. Belinsky, a thrower from Locust Valley, N.Y., specializes in the shot put, an event she won at last year’s indoor conference championships. Outdoors, Belinsky placed fifth in the shot put and eighth in the hammer throw. Adding in her seventh place finish in the weight throw indoors, Belinsky scored in each event she competed at both championship meets last year. Belinsky currently ranks second in program history in the outdoor shot put, third in the indoor shot put, seventh in the weight throw, and 10th in the hammer.
Halie Snyder also returns as team captain for the second consecutive season. Snyder, a sprinter from Mineville, N.Y., is the latest long sprinter in the program to switch over to the 400m hurdles, following in the footsteps of former Great Danes like Grace Claxton, Kamilah McShine, Joe Greene, and Alie Beauvais. After winning the 500m at the 2017 indoor championships, Snyder went on to win the 400m hurdles at outdoor championships. The wins were her first two individual conference titles in her career. All-time, Snyder ranks second in the 300m, fourth in the indoor 400m, third in the 500m, third in the outdoor 400m, and fourth in the 400m hurdles.
Kyle Gronostaj is the third and final individual serving as captain for a second straight year. Gronostaj, who is one of two local products among the six captains (East Greenbush, N.Y.), was the Great Danes’ second runner for most of the cross country season before overtaking the first spot in the final two meets. During the 2017 track season, Gronostaj earned runner-up finishes in the 5,000m at indoor championships and the 10,000m at outdoor championships, as well as the 10,000m at IC4A Outdoor Championships. Gronostaj ranks second in school history in the indoor 5,000m, seventh in the indoor 3,000m, fifth in the outdoor 5,000m, and second in the 10,000m.
Kingsley Ogbonna was named team captain for the first time this year. In previous years, alongside former Great Dane Alex Bowen and current teammate Matthew Campbell, Ogbonna, who hails from Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., was part of a contingent of three high jumpers who had cleared seven feet in the same season. Only Kansas State had three jumpers who could match the Great Danes’ prowess. Before missing last year’s outdoor season with an injury, Ogbonna placed second at indoor championships, third at IC4A Indoor Championships, and second at the Tyson Invitational. Ogbonna currently ranks third in program history in both the indoor and outdoor high jump, with both marks exceeding seven feet.
Devon Willis is the final repeat captain, but differs from the others in that his stints have come non-consecutively. Willis is the second local product among the six captains, hailing from Schenectady, N.Y. Primarily a triple jumper, Willis won the triple jump at indoor championships last season, two weeks after placing second in the same event at the Tyson Invitational. Willis went on to win the triple jump at IC4A Indoor Championships. All-time, Willis ranks second in the outdoor triple jump, and holds a share of the indoor school record in the same event with Michael McCadney.
The Great Danes kick off the 2017-18 season Saturday, December 2 at Boston University.