2012-03-15 / Sports

MU track teams sweep NEC indoor championship meets

Monmouth University’s men’s and women’s track and field teams swept the 2012 Northeast Conference Indoor championships.

Their paths were different, but their results were still the same.

The men did so by dominating the field, scoring a new school meet record 170 points, which is also the second most scored in NEC history. They were 54 points better than runner up Sacred Hart (116).

Meanwhile, the women’s title wasn’t decided until the final event on the track, the 4x400-meter relay. The Hawk women headed into the race leading Long Island University- Brooklyn by just three points. They needed a first- or second-place finish to clinch the title, regardless of where the Blackbirds finished.

The Blackbirds did their best to win the championship by taking the relay, but Monmouth’s quartet of Rachel Watkins (Indian Hills), Colleen Rutecki (Springfield, Pa.), Kate Frye (Point Pleasant Boro) and Laura Williams (North Brunswick) shadowed the LIU-Brooklyn team and finished second, just three-tenths of a second behind, to win the team championship by one point, 143-142.

It was a second-place finish by the Hawks’ distance medley relay team that put the team into the lead heading into the 1,600 relay.

“It may sound like a cliché, but the wins were absolutely total team efforts for both the men and the women,” said MU head coach Joe Compagni in a university press release. “Every event group did their part, and our depth was really the key.”

Both Monmouth teams scored in 16 out of the 17 events, displaying their balance and depth. For the women, who have finished first or second for 10 straight years, this was their fifth indoor NEC crown. The men captured the program’s fourth team title.

TheNECmeetwas held at the Prince George Complex in Landover, Md., on Feb. 11-12.

The men’s team won four events, led by thrower Vincent Elardo (Lacey) with a pair of victories. He won the shot put (58-5) and the weight throw (61-10 ¼). His double earned him Field Athlete of the Meet honors.

The Hawk pole-vaulters went 1-2-4, with senior Pete Matano (Wayne Hills) clearing 15- 9 for first. Freshman Ben Boyd (West Morris Catholic) finished the 400-meter in 50.09 to claim his first NEC individual title in his first championship meet.

The women had won two individual titles, led by junior Watkins’ record-tying high jump performance. Watkins tied the NEC record set in 2009 with her jump of 5-9 ¼ to claim first place for the Hawks. Junior Amanda Eller’s (Millville) time of 2:15.18 in the 800 meter gave the Hawk women their second gold medal performance of the meet.

Eller also teamed up with Danielle Torrito (Smithtown East, N.Y.), Lindsey Walsh (Lenape) and Emily MacEwen (South Glastonbury, Conn.) on the DMR and finished second, putting MU back into the lead heading into the 4x400.

Earlier, Eller had secured a third-place finish in the mile, crossing the line in 5:01.44. MacEwen finished just behind Eller in the 800 meter with a time 2:16.84, which was good enough for second.

The Hawks went 2-4-5 in the 400 meter, with Williams taking second (56.41), Watkins taking fourth (58.94) and Frye (59.11) claiming fifth place. Senior Jennifer Nelson (Barnegat) was second in the 3,000 with an ECAC-qualifying mark of 9:52.75.

Freshman Lauren McDonald (West Essex Regional) cleared 10-8 to take second place in the pole vault for MU. Walsh’s long jump of 18-3 ¾ earned third place for the senior, while Sandra Jean-Romain (Old Bridge) and RachelAliotta (Cheshire, Conn.) went 3-4 in the women’s shot put with distances of 44- 6 ¾ and 44-5 ¼.

Ford Palmer’s (Absegami) second-place time of 4:14.06 in the mile was an IC4A-qualifying time, and the junior also registered an IC4A-qualifying time of 1:53.12 in the 800 meter, which was third in the meet. Palmer anchored the men’s second-place DMR, which also featured seniors Garth DelBlasio (Allentown) and Chris Rutherford (Toms River East) along with junior Mark Bernardo (Staten Island, N.Y./Monsignor Farrell).

Elardo wasn’t the only Hawk to impress in the shot put: Monmouth would take four of eight scoring positions in the event. Junior Shane Carle (Jackson Memorial) took second with his toss of 53-6 ½.

The Hawks took three scoring spots in the high jump, led by junior Jake Bartlett (Christian BrothersAcademy), who took second after clearing 6-8 ¼.

Freshman Tom Jeffers’ (Triton Regional) vault of 14-11 was second behind teammate Matano, while sophomore Jordan Subai (Toms River North) took fourth after clearing 14-7 ¼. Senior Josh Lewis (Montville) took third in the long jump with his mark of 22-10.

Navarro and fellow senior Mike Drake (Cherry Hill East/College of Charleston) claimed third and sixth in the 60-meter dash, crossing the tape in 6.95 and 7.11. Navarro, Drake and Boyd also went 5-6-7 in the 200 dash. Jon Marques (St. Joseph of Metuchen) was third in the 500 (1:06.06), Bayaan Oluyadi (Union) was fifth, and Joe DiBianca (Oakcrest) was seventh.

Junior Sean Hartnett (Cherokee) claimed fifth in the 3,000 with a time of 8:30.47 as Khari Bowen (Monroe Township) was also fifth, in the 5,000, with his time of 15:00.74. Rutherford and Stevenson Cajuste (Egg Harbor) added to the MU point totals with fourthand seventh-place finishes in the 60 hurdles.

On the women’s side, Lachelle Wallace’s (Herndon, Va./South Lakes) time of 7.88 was seventh in the 60 while Williams was sixth in the 200 with a time of 25.29. Watkins and Walsh were fifth and eighth in the 60-meter hurdles, respectively. Rutecki and Ali Hehn took fourth and fifth in the 500 meter, with times of 1:17.29 and 1:18.42, respectively.

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