Vives, Harris Win Regional Awards
NEW ORLEANS – The University at Albany track & field program earned two regional awards for the 2019 outdoor season, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced Friday. Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Roberto Vives was named Women’s Head Coach of the Year for the Northeast Region and Venique Harris was named Women’s Field Athlete of the Year.
Vives, in his 34th season as head coach of the Great Danes, earns his third coaching honor, having been named Men’s Northeast Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2018. This season Vives oversaw the first women’s Triple Crown in America East history, where the same team wins the cross country, indoor, and outdoor team titles in the same academic year. The feat has only been accomplished twice before in America East history, by the 2011-12 UAlbany men and the 1988-89 Northeastern men.
The Great Danes sealed the Triple Crown with a dominating victory in the America East Outdoor Championships hosted at UAlbany’s University Field. The women won 10 events and broke two championship meet records while scoring an outdoor championship meet record 254 points, surpassing the previous record of 245 set by the 2012-13 UAlbany team.
In addition to winning the first-ever women’s Triple Crown, the team title at the outdoor championship meet was the women’s 11th consecutive and 14th outdoor title overall. In total, women’s track & field and cross country has won 23 America East championships. Vives headlined a staff that was named Women’s Coaching Staff of the Year.
Following the America East Outdoor Championships victory, the Great Danes claimed their second-straight ECAC Outdoor title, defeating runner-up Towson 76-73 and winning three individual events.
Harris, a discus thrower from Portmore, Jamaica, has rewritten the UAlbany record books in her first year at UAlbany. Arriving with a personal-best mark of 193-05.00, which would have placed fourth at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Harris broke UAlbany’s school record in the first outdoor meet of the season with a mark of 182-08.00. UAlbany’s previous school record was 159-09.00 set in 2009 by Ritshell Verdier.
Harris broke her own school record in the discus two weeks later at the Florida Relays, placing third overall in 186-00.00. Later in the season, she placed third in the championship section of the women’s discus at the Penn Relays with a mark of 178-05.00.
At the America East Outdoor Championships, Harris claimed one of the two championship meet records the Great Danes set with a winning mark of 178-01.00. She broke the previous championship record of 160-01.00 set in 1994 by Northeastern’s Theresa Findlay. Her performance netted her Co-Outstanding Field Performer honors.
Harris did not compete again until NCAA East Preliminary Championships, where she arrived as the fifth-seeded athlete in the discus. She broke her own school record once again, recording a mark of 190-01.00 to place third overall and advance to NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Harris and her teammate, Devon Willis, will make the trip to the University of Texas at Austin for the NCAA Outdoor Championships next week. Harris competes on Saturday, June 8.