By Shanna O’Mara
For the first time in program history, the men’s track and field team won the MAAC Indoor Championships, finishing three points ahead of runner-up Monmouth, while the women placed second behind the Hawks.
The Monmouth men had won the previous three conference championships.
After the two-day competition on Feb. 18-19, Head Coach Bob Hamer was named the 2017 men’s indoor track and field coach of the year at the New Balance Armory Track and Field Center in New York.
Junior Tyree Adams was named the most outstanding performer in the field events. On day one, he set a Rider record in the long jump with a mark of 7.55 meters.
“This title means a lot to me,” Adams said. “It is the first title I have won in college. It means a lot more because we beat Monmouth.”
Monmouth, who was on top of the leaderboard at the end of day one, held a 14-point lead over Rider, who sat in fourth place heading into the second day.
“[On the first day], we had a lot of momentum,” Hamer said. “We had a lot of guys make some finals. We had a lot of big performers, specifically Tyree Adams in the long jump. I think that got everybody excited and hyped.”
Adams also placed fifth in the triple jump and sixth in the high jump.
Sophomore Michael Horn finished first in the triple jump, covering a distance of 14.76 meters. Sophomore Nate Bowie won the 60 meter hurdles in 8.09, and junior Christin Patrick placed third.
Senior Erik Adamcik won the pole vault with 4.90 meters.
“The pole vault was very competitive this year as compared to past years,” Adamcik said. “Monmouth and Manhattan vaulters brought it, and it made for a fun competition.”
Iona swept many of the distance events, claiming the top three spots in the 3,000 meter, 5,000 meter and the mile, while the Broncs struggled. However, in the 800 meter, Rider clawed back into contention. Senior Johnathan Jackson won the event with a time of 1:53.06. Junior Anthony Ardino finished a little more than a second behind Jackson, rounding out the top three.
“The men really stepped up and performed admirably,” Hamer said.
In the 400 meter, sophomore Dalin Hackley finished third, posting a time of 49.84. Freshman Marquan Jones placed second in the 200 meter dash in 22.33.
“Placing second as a freshman is truly a blessing,” Marquan said. “I couldn’t have done it without the biggest support from my family, friends, coaches and teammates. Everyone encourages me to be aggressive, and that’s what I did. There were so many nerves running through my body before the race, but as soon as the gun went off, I knew I was destined to run extremely well. The field of competition was very strong and it would have been easy to not finish in the top five if I messed up at all.”
Monmouth and Manhattan gathered most of the points in the throwing events, but sophomore Marcell Brown earned four for Rider in the shot put, launching the 16-pound ball 15.91 meters to place fifth.
The women, who finished the championships with 137 points, behind Monmouth’s 208.5 and ahead of Manhattan’s 92.5, also had standout performances at the armory.
“Going into the MAAC Championship, we felt very confident that we could make things happen,” said junior Karoline Sandvig. “During the last week, the team worked towards having a strong performance, and I think it showed. A lot of the women did their job and stepped up to plate and hit some big marks in order to get points for the team. There were some outstanding individual performances but overall the team showed depth and performed well. We were able to win points by being competitive and staying in top positions in many events.”
On day one, freshman Asia Young placed first in the long jump, covering a distance of 6.01 meters. Junior Sara Gardner posted a university-record time of 8.6 to earn the 60 meter hurdle preliminary win only to break it the following day in the finals with an impressive 8.51 second-place finish.
Senior Megan McGarrity won the 5,000 meter in 17:29.71, seven seconds ahead of the runner-up. With this time, McGarrity qualified for the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) meet in early March. She also placed second in the 3,000 meter with a time of 10:00.12.
Other ECAC qualifiers included Sandvig and sophomore Ashley Berry for the weight throw; they placed second and fifth, respectively. Joining them will be senior Daria Chadwick and junior Lexie Fraction, who placed third and fifth, respectively, for the 60 meter hurdles.
“We are working on staying healthy and strong for ECAC,” Sandvig said. “We are staying focused and keeping the momentum going to make things happen.”
In a nail-biting finish, sophomore Tierra Taylor tied with a Manhattan athlete in the 60 meter dash. The women finished first with a time of 7.57, a Rider and meet record.
“[On the first day], we gained a lot of momentum, and then we started off strong today,” Hamer said. “It just carried through.”
On day two, Chadwick claimed the high jump title with sophomore Natalie Cowan right behind her in second. In the triple jump, sophomore Destiny Kearney placed second with a distance of 11.88 meters.
On Feb. 25, the Broncs will compete in the Last Chance Meet at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex in Staten Island, New York. After such a successful weekend, the athletes look forward to improving upon their performances.
“I think this is such a huge confidence boost for our team,” Adams said. “It definitely catapults our confidence to move forward to the spring season and try to build on our success and eventually win outdoor MAACs.”