NEW YORK – Among some of the top competition in the country, the UConn men’s track and field team took fourth place overall at the Columbia East-West Challenge at the Armory Track and Field Center.
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"We made progress on a lot of fronts," said UConn head coach Greg Roy, "Chinedu had a really good meet with three very solid races. Craig Hunter is rounding into form and John Landis competed really well in the long jump, so our captains are leading by example. On the other hand, we are very young and need to continue to develop. Teamwise, Cornell beat us in one event, the 500, 30-0 and UCLA was oh so close behind. Oregon was clearly in a different league."
No. 2 ranked Oregon claimed first place, followed by No. 22 Cornell in second and UCLA in third.
In their first time competing in the distance medley relay this season, the Huskies DMR team (Amonu, Barber, Heydrick and Van Der Els) set the bar high with a 9:41.71 mark and took third overall, contributing six points to UConn’s total.
Junior Stephon Henry tied a season-best mark of 8.05 in the 60m hurdles to capture second place and earned the Huskies eight points towards their total score. Henry finished just behind UCLA’s Misana Viltz, who came in at 8.02.
Both Huskies that competed in the 60m dash either tied or set a new personal best in that event. Freshman Stedman Cook, who boasts the team’s top mark in the 60m dash, earned a new personal best in that event, running a time of 6.89 for a new career high. Senior captain John Landis tied his previous career best of 6.94, which he set just recently at the Sorlien Invitational.
Freshman Eric Van Der Els competed in the mile event for the first time in his collegiate career, registering a time of 4:09.62 to lead the Huskies in that event. Junior Parker Timmerman set a new personal record in that event, running a 4:13.05 mile time.
Senior captain Craig Hunter took home second place in the pole vault with a 16’ 10.75’’ (5.15m) to contribute eight points. Hunter came in just behind Grant Sisserson of Cornell (5.25m). Sophomore Ian Bergere also took sixth place in pole vault with a 15’ 11’’ (4.85m) mark.
In the jumps, senior captain John Landis made his first appearance in the long jump this season, leading the team with a third-place finish (7.26m). Freshman Jordan Torney set a new personal best in the long jump with a 22’ 2.5’’ (6.77m) leap. Landis and Torney combined for eight points in that event.
The Huskies excelled in the triple jump as three UConn competitors all earned new personal bests. Sophomore Malik Snead also boasted a personal record 50’ 1.75’’ (15.28m) leap in the triple jump, which put him in fourth place in that event for five total points. Freshmen duo Ronel Forde and Ivan Nyemeck also took home new career bests in that event.
In the weight throw, sophomore Sebastian Castano recorded a new personal record with a 16.76m throw, which put him in sixth place. Classmate Alex Gagne also nabbed a new personal best in the weight throw, coming in just behinf Castano at 16.75m.
Senior captain Chinedu Amonu stood out in the 400m dash, taking third place with a time of 47.44 seconds, which takes over the No. 1 time in the conference for that event. He finished just behind UCLA’s Joe Herrera and Oregon’s Marcus Chambers, who took first place. Sophomore Kyle Trocki took sixth in the 400 (49.50). Amonu and Trocki combined for nine points.
Amonu also earned a fourth-place finish in the 200m after running a season-best 21.62 in that event. Freshman Stedman Cook place eighth in that event and was one tenth of a second short of his career best.
Connecticut placed three athletes in the top-10 of the 800m run. Sophomore Ben De Venezia led the team in that event, running a new personal record 1:52.90. Sophomore Peter Garmon and senior Alvaro Chavez finished seventh and eighth, respectively.
Both Huskies who competed in the 3000m event set personal bests. Senior captain Michael O’Donnell recorded a new personal record in the 3000m run (8:15.23). His previous personal best was 8:22.10, which he set this season at the Great Dane Classic earlier this month. Sophomore Patrick Begley ran it in 8:20.43 to earn a new career record.
In his first collegiate appearance in the 1000m run, sophomore Kyle Barber took home fifth place with a time of 2:28.93.