By Tim Tolokan
STORRS, CT—When visiting potential recruits, UConn Head Coach of Men’s Track and Field Greg Roy speaks about everyone competing and contributing to success in a “championship program”.
This past weekend Coach Roy again affirmed that “championship program” status as the UConn Men’s Indoor Track and Field squad won another in a long list of titles----the 2018 IC4A Indoor Championship.
IC4A stands for Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America and the championship, held at Boston University, was the 97th edition of the indoor meet.
A total of 36 different universities from throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic states scored in the three-day IC4A championship with UConn winning the title with 85 points. Liberty University was second with 80.33 points and Northeastern was third with 76 points.
Winning championships is what comes naturally to Greg Roy, now in his 29th year as head coach of UConn Men’s Track and Field and Cross Country and his 33rd year overall as part of Husky Athletics.
---While a member of the Big East Conference, UConn Men’s Track and Field won 11 league championships.
---Since joining the American Athletic Conference, Roy’s Huskies have won two league titles.
---In regional competition in the IC4A’s, UConn has won three indoor titles (2011, 2013, 2018) while also winning one outdoor championship and a cross country title (UConn no longer takes part outdoor or in the cross country season at the IC4A).
---The New England Indoor Championship meet has been dominated by UConn---the Huskies winning the championship in 20 of the 25 years they have competed. Outdoors, UConn has added three New England titles despite being a sporadic total team competitor.
The manner in which Greg Roy and his Huskies win team titles is unique and each victory is truly a TEAM achievement.
“The most recent IC4A Championship was a great, great team win,” says the UConn head coach. “We’re a very young team and our athletes are still learning how to win. In a great meet with teams from all over the Atlantic coast, our competitors took care of business. The individual successes in each event ultimately led to a wonderful team victory.”
UConn only posted a first place finish in ONE of 20 events at the IC4A but in winning the title 20 different Husky performers were point scorers, each earning All-East honors.
The top eight finishers in each event earned points (10/8/6/5/4/3/2/1) and UConn’s 85-point winning team total included:
--Senior Craig Hunter (Robbinsville, NJ)--1st in the Pole Vault (10 points).
--Junior Malik Snead (Trenton, NJ)--2nd in the Long Jump (8 points); 4th in the Triple Jump (5 points).
---Freshman Daniel Claxton (Long Island, NY)--2nd in the High Jump (8 points).
---Senior Trenten Beram (Hopewell Junction, NY)--3rd in the 400 Meter run (6 points).
---Freshman Matthew Brady (Biddeford, ME)--3rd in the Shot Put (6 points).
---Junior Patrick Begley (Suffield, CT)--3rd in the 3,000 Meter run (6 points).
---The grouping of Junior PJ Garmon (Billerica, MA), Freshman Omar Gebril (North Haven, CT), Freshman Terrell Cunningham (Danbury, CT), Senior Michael O’Donnell (Methuen, MA)—3rd in the Distance Medley Relay (6 points).
---The grouping of Freshman Colt Nichols (Portsmouth, RI), Junior Kyle Trocki (Shrewsbury, MA), Freshman Tyler Gleen (Trumbull, CT), Senior Trenten Beram (Hopewell Junction, NY)—3rd in the 4x400 Relay (6 points).
---Freshman Scott Safir (Greenwich, CT)—4th in the High Jump (5 points).
--Sophomore Jordan Torney (Toms River, NJ)—4th in the Heptathlon (5 points).
---Sophomore Eric Van Der Els (Norwalk, CT)—5th in the Mile run (4 points).
---Junior Kyle Brackman (Berkley Heights, NJ)—6th in the 5000 Meter run (3 points).
---Junior Kyle Barber (Fayetteville, NY)—6th in the Mile run (3 points).
---Freshman Benjamin Grosse (Wayzata, MN)—7th in the Heptathlon (2 points).
---Freshman Tyler Gleen (Trumbull, CT)—8th in the 800 Meter run (1 point).
---Junior Ian Bergere (Madison, CT)—8th in the Pole Vault (1 point).
Hunter, UConn’s indoor and outdoor record holder in the pole vault, successfully defended his IC4A title. His winning vault of 16’ 10.75” was truly outstanding in that he was returning from a broken wrist injury sustained when his pole snapped during an early-season practice session.
In placing third in the 3,000 meter run, Begley set an indoor school record with his time of 8:03.44.
UConn actually trailed Liberty 58-50 after 13 of the meet’s 20 events had been completed but the Huskies came on strong down the stretch (pole vault, shot put, 3,000 meter, distance medley, 4x400 relay) to pull out the team victory.
Roy, along with Associate Head Coach Rich Miller and Assistant Coach Moose Akanno, managed the meet beautifully. In fact, in placing third in the two point-scoring relays, UConn saved its top runners for the finals and utilized different quartets in the trials.
A bright note for the Huskies as they prepare for the 2018 outdoor season and beyond is shown in the overall age of the squad. Of the 20 members of the team contributing points for UConn at the IC4A, there are 8 freshman, 2 sophomores, 7 juniors, and only 3 seniors.
“We’re a very young team and the IC4A victory, and especially the way we closed it out with important point totals in the final events, boded very well for the future.”
Compared to the bright light sports of men’s and women’s basketball and football, Coach Greg Roy and his team often compete (and win) under the radar. But for the past three decades the UConn Men’s Track and Field program has continually produced “Championship” success.
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