Track And Field Wins 15 Medals At NECs

Patrick Gustavson, Sports Editor

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The Central Connecticut men’s track and field team were unable to repeat as Northeast Conference Champions this past weekend, finishing fourth. The women’s team was also unable to reach the feat, finishing fifth. Despite this, the two teams combined for 15 medals for the meet.

Despite not taking home the crown, head coach Eric Blake was “pleased” with his teams’ efforts.

“As always, the team does a good job of getting up for the meet,” Blake said. “The team score was not where we wanted it to be. We want to win these meets, not get fourth or fifth.”
As for what his team could have done better, Blake said the men simply “left some points out there.” As for the women, he said it was an issue of depth and even took the blame.
“We need more depth and that’s on me. We went in with no room for error and that is a lot to ask for from the team,” Blake said.

The star of the day for the defending champion men’s team was junior Marquis Ward, who was named NEC Champion for the high jump with a distance of 2.01 meters. He also finished third in both the long jump and triple jump. For his efforts, Ward was named Most Outstanding Player for jumps.

Besting Ward in the long jump was teammate and classmate Kevorni Welsh, who won the event. In addition, Welsh finished second to Ward in the high jump, setting a personal best distance in the process.

Ward and Welsh received strong praise from Blake for their performances.

“Our jumpers don’t have it easy because we don’t have an indoor practice facility for the horizontal jumps. For them to do as well as they did shows a lot,” Blake said.

The other Blue Devil on the men’s side to win an event was junior standout Roberto Piotto, who took home the crown in the 5,000-meter run. He also finished third in the 3,000-meter dash.

Junior Richard Grudzwick continued his strong season by finishing third in the 800-meter dash.

Rounding out the medal winners on the men’s side was Senior Akiel Smith, who ran the 200-meter dash in just under 22 seconds.

Though they did not medal, Blake pointed out the performances of rookies Andrew Findley and Jason Walton.

The women’s team earned six medals from three different athletes on the way to their fifth-place finish.

The star for the Lady Blue Devils was senior runner Dawn Hubbell, who slewed the competition in the 5,000-meter run. Her time of 17:40.47 clocked in 10 seconds faster than the second-place finisher. Hubbell also finished second in the 3,000-meter run. Blake commended Hubbell for the hard work she has put in during her five-year tenure at the school.

Junior Megan Brawner won two medals of her own, finishing second in the one-mile run as well as a third-place finish in the 800-meter run.

On the jumping side of the meet, junior Hailey Rospierski finished second in both the 60-meter hurdles (setting a personal best time in the process) and the high jump.

Though they failed to win the NEC crown, the Blue Devils’ seasons will carry on as they will both take on BU Last Chance Meet at Boston University on Saturday and Sunday.

Blake said the meet will be used to keep his team sharp for the IC4A/ECAC Championships the following weekend.