A Day Of Personal Bests For Track And Field At UConn Challenge

Patrick Gustavson, Sports Editor

Both the Central Connecticut men’s and women’s track and field teams returned to the state this past weekend where they competed at the UConn Northeast Challenge.

Despite both teams finishing towards the bottom of the competing teams, multiple athletes medaled in events and a whopping 23 personal bests were achieved.

On the women’s side, 11 personal bests were achieved, including two from junior Taylor Davis in the 200 and 400-meter dashes. Also setting personal bests in the 200-meter dash was freshman Kelly Hurd, finishing just over a second behind Davis.

Davis was also a part of the 4×100-meter relay team that set a collegiate best time for the event with seniors Sierra Nesmith and McKenna Killian and junior Erica Snape.

Killian also achieved her own best distance in the long jump thanks to a leap of 5.43 meters.

Four other Blue Devils broke PRs in field events. Freshman Kadizha Benjamin jumped 1.52 meters in the high jump. Meanwhile, classmates Gianna D’Amato and Abrah both did so in the javelin with throws of 39.96 and 36.05 meters, respectively. Freshman Danyelle Engels rounded out this group with a discus throw of 39.58 meters.

Head coach Eric Blake sighted Engels as having a strong meet and freshman season in general.

As for the men’s side, they slightly bested their teammates by achieving 12 personal bests.

But they also had three athletes medal, including freshman Garrett Dandridge, who came in second place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.79 seconds.

Junior Richard Grudzwick took home a silver medal of his own in the 800-meter run thanks to a time of 1:52.36. But the podium finish was not the only highlight of the event for the Blue Devils as three others broke personal bests: juniors Andrew Findley and freshmen Andrew Flemming and Jason Walton. Findley shaved three seconds off his personal best.

Senior and veteran Akiel Smith took home the bronze in the 100-meter dash thanks to a time of 10.65 seconds. Two others achieved personal bests in the event. Sophomore Miles Fye-Moore finished the run in just under 11 seconds and was closely followed by freshman Jovan Dixon.

The duo of Fye-Moore and Dixon also broke their respective personal bests in the 200-meter event, in which Dandridge took the silver. Other Blue Devils that set their new personal best time in the event was Walton, junior Edwin Alston and freshman Trevor Glymph.

In addition to the personal record-setting athletes, Blake commended Cam Whalen for his effort in the hurdles.

The Blue Devils now have just two more meets before they host the Northeast Conference Championship meet on May 3.

Blake believes his team is in a good position to be a contender.

“I feel we are going in the right direction,” Blake said. “I believe we have the team to win but it comes down to the weekend. We don’t need a perfect weekend but need things to go right.”

The teams will continue to gear up next weekend when they travel to Princeton for the Larry Ellis Invitational.