By Tom Regan
Track and field competed at the MAAC Championship in New York on Feb. 21. The men placed fourth out of seven with 102 points, while the women were the runners-up out of eight schools with 94 points.
Senior thrower Rhea Phipps, who had previously broken the weight throw record held by Olympian Jazmine Fenlator, ’07, went into the championship hoping to continue her strong showing.
“My goal on Friday was to compete at the highest level I could for my team,” Phipps said. “I knew if I did that, the results would speak for itself.”
Phipps did just that as she broke her own Rider record with an ECAC-qualifying distance of 18.22 meters in the weight throw. However, that record-setting distance was not enough for a first-place finish, as she came in second. Phipps also placed sixth in the shot put with a distance of 11.85 meters.
Sophomore jumper Miranda Roberts tied her own Rider record in the long jump with 3.45 meters, but ultimately also finished in second.
In addition, sophomore sprinter La’tazah Coleman placed third in both the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.77 seconds and in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.75 seconds. Sophomore jumper Dashana Ransome placed third and fourth in the long jump (5.58m) and 60-meter hurdles (8.97 seconds), respectively. Senior jumper Lauryn Strebeck finished third in the triple jump at 11.56 meters.
Junior distance runner Emily Ritter placed fourth in both the one mile with an ECAC-qualifying time of 4:55.82, and the 3,000-meter with a time of 10:12.18.
For the men, junior pole vaulter Anthony DeFranco tied his Rider pole vault record at 3.45 meters, netting him a first-place finish. Freshman sprinter Lamont Higgins took first in the 400-meter dash with an IC4A-qualifying time of 48.88 seconds. Higgins also qualified for the IC4A in the 200-meter and 60-meter dash with times of 22.24 and 6.99 seconds, respectively.
Higgins was excited with his MAAC Championship gold, describing the entire experience as a dream come true.
“It was amazing just to win,” Higgins said. “I dreamt of that 400 ever since I talked to [Assistant Coach Brett] Harvey last May.”
Senior sprinter Wilvenson Baptiste won the 200-meter dash, clocking in at 21.65 seconds and placed third in the 400 meter with a time of 49.28 seconds, both IC4A-qualifying times.
Junior distance runner Nasser Sayer was third in the 3,000-meter with an IC4A qualifying time of 8:26.35. Freshman jumper Kyle Bryant placed fifth in the long jump with an IC4A-qualifying 7.08 meters, and was seventh in the triple jump at a total of 13.82 meters.
Going into the IC4A/ECAC Championships from Mar. 7 – 9, Higgins holds high expectations for the team.
“I expect to break the school record in the 400 at 48.2, which I was close to breaking at Boston with 48.4,” Higgins said. “Also, I expect to break the school 4×400 record with my teammates.”