April 29, 2010
STORRS, Conn. - After sweeping the BIG EAST Weekly awards and finishing with some stellar performances at the Penn Relays, the University of Connecticut men's track and field team heads out to the BIG EAST Championship in Cincinnati from April 30 to May 2.
For the first time in the 31 year history of the BIG EAST the Track and Field Championships will be hosted by Cincinnati at Gettler Stadium.
"This year's meet promises to be one of the most hotly contested meets of all time," said head coach Greg Roy. "There are at least five teams who have a real chance to win with UConn being in the middle. What team comes out strong and competes the best this weekend will win, but the title is there for the taking."
Thirty-four of the 43 athletes on the UConn squad qualified for the BIG EAST Championship with five athletes qualifying in both the 800 meter run, the javelin, and the decathlon and four athletes representing the Huskies in the pole vault.
The Huskies will begin competition with the decathlon events on Friday, April 30 where Sean Smith, the defending BIG EAST decathlon champion, Ben and Jake Waruch, Kyle Rowbotham and Sam Smith will all compete for the Huskies. UConn has dominated the multi events in years past as Aaron King earned the title of BIG EAST Heptathlon Champion in 2008 and 2009 and Smith won the decathlon also in 2009.
On Saturday, field competition will start at 11:30 a.m. with the discus. The Huskies have three athletes in the running as Patrick Sampson, Justin Siekierski and Josh Faboyede will all compete. UConn will also participate in the long jump, the shot put, the javelin and the high jump on the day.
King and Tyrone Faverey will be UConn's participants in the long jump. In a Louisville dominated event, King sits in ninth place in the BIG EAST in the long jump this season with a distance that was recorded during a decathlon held at the Texas Relays on March 31 of 7.25 meters, a personal best.
Mike Alleman will be the lone competitor in the shot put for the Huskies, but has a great chance at a title. Alleman ranks 19th in the NCAA east region, 31st nationally and third in the BIG EAST with his best throw of the season, 17.67 meters, recorded last weekend at the Penn Relays.
The javelin has a multitude of Husky competitors in Cody Unger, Siekierski, Eric Alfiere, Dylan Dombrowski and Ed Strosnick. Siekierski, Unger and Dombrowski rank fifth, sixth and seventh in the BIG EAST this season respectively with Alfiere rounding out the pack in ninth place. Strosnick has yet to compete this season but was fourth at the 2009 BIG EAST Outdoor Championship.
Rounding out day one field events will be the high jump. Participating for the Huskies will be Marquis Thomas, Faverey and Eric Fontanez. Thomas currently ranks fifth in the BIG EAST and 25th in the east region after finishing the Penn Relays with a second place performance and a 2.10 meter jump last weekend. Fontanez' jump of 2.09 meters ranks seventh in the BIG EAST while Faverey rounds out the top 10 clearing a mark of 2.06 meters.
The first track event for the Huskies will begin at 2:15 p.m. as Chris Whyte starts things off for UConn in the 110 meter hurdles. Whyte ranks 10th in the BIG EAST this season with his fastest hurdles time coming in 14.67 seconds at The Dogfight against Albany. He is the third highest ranked freshman in the BIG EAST.
Steven Rochester will be the next track athlete up for the Huskies, representing UConn in the 400 meter dash. He will be followed by the sprinting duo of Kevin Steinberg and Jesse Drinks in the 100 meter dash. Drinks ranks fourth in the BIG EAST this season with a time of 10.52 seconds and is the fastest freshman in the conference entering this event. Steinberg is in sixth place with a time of 10.62 seconds and is the quickest sophomore this season in the BIG EAST. Both marks were recorded at The Dogfight.
The 800 meter run will be well represented by UConn athletes with Michael Rutt, Brian Gagnon, Dan Holst, and Alex and Tim Bennatan running for the Huskies. Gagnon and Rutt had the fastest and third fastest time in the United States during the indoor season while they were running unattached from the university and look to bring that momentum into the championship.
The 400 meter hurdles trials will follow as Anthony Burris and Whyte will run for the Huskies. Burris has the eighth fastest time in the BIG EAST this season coming across in 52.92 seconds at the Spec Towns Invitational. The 200 meter dash will round out day one trials as Steinberg will be the lone competitor for the Huskies in the dash.
The steeplechase finals will be run on Saturday night at 5:25 p.m. and UConn will have two competitors in contention in Will Sanders and Scott Johnson. Sanders ranks 42nd in the east region in the steeplechase with a personal best time of 9:06.01.
On Day Two, the Huskies will participate in the hammer throw, pole vault and triple jump in the field events and will host all of the track finals with the addition of the 5,000 meter run and three relays.
In the hammer throw, Sampson and Faboyede will compete for the Huskies. Sampson ranks third in the BIG EAST with a personal best toss of 57.39 meters while Faboyede is ninth in the conference with a throw of 52.61 meters.
The pole vault will have four UConn competitors in Kyle Duggan, Matt Alexander, Zach Meverden and Dylan Dombrowski. Duggan leads the BIG EAST in the pole vault with a personal record height of 5.21 meters recorded at The Dogfight. He currently ranks 15th in the east region and 28th in the country this season. Matt Alexander is in a tie for sixth in the BIG EAST with a height of 4.95 meters while Meverden ranks ninth at 4.90 meters.
The triple jump will be represented by Jamaal Smith, King and Faverey. Smith leads the Huskies with a 15.15 meter jump which ranks seventh in the BIG EAST.
The lone UConn runner in the 5,000 meter run will be Sanders in a field dominated by Georgetown, Syracuse and Notre Dame. The Huskies did not have a competitor in this race last season and for Sanders to place and earn points towards the total would be huge for the UConn team.
The BIG EAST Conference will once again offer web site coverage and streaming of the 2010 Outdoor Track and Field Championships. BIGEAST.tv - the league's online streaming platform - will offer live coverage from the championship. Fans can subscribe to BIGEAST.tv for one low price to catch all of the action from the comfort of their home computer.