This past weekend the Atlantic 10 Indoor Track and Field Championships were held at URI’s Mackal Field House and the results for the Rhody men and women’s track teams were outstanding.
The men’s team captured first place at the Indoor Championships for the third consecutive year, while also marking their 20th overall championship in the program’s history.
“I thought the excitement around the 20th [championship] was very good” head coach John Copeland said. “Consistency is very important to me, and this means we have been good for a while.”
The win did not come without drama as going into the final event of the day, the four by 400-meter relay saw George Mason University and URI locked in a tie making it the deciding factor.
“I have never been in a meet that was that close” Copeland said. “We had some holes on the track, but luckily we were able to slither through.
The winner take all was eventually settled as the Rams quartet of sophomores Nigel Hill, Adam Franklin and Marlon Montague and senior Kebba Nasso, bested the Patriots finishing second to their fifth place finish.
However Rhode Island was in position to win because of their success in winning four events.
Among the four athletes who won their event was senior Samuel Snyder, who won the shot put title, while junior Mahlik Handley prevailed in the weight throw.
The other two winners on the day were sophomore Casey Burley, who took home the long jump title, and senior Mike DiMambro, who bested the competition in the 60-meter hurdles.
On the other side, the women’s team just missed out on first place, as they came in second, just six and a half points behind the winner, University of Massachusetts-Amherst. The second place finish was their best since 2013.
“This was one of the best meets we have ever had” said assistant coach John Melnick. “On paper we were down twenty and we cut it to seven. It was just a great two days.”
Similar to the men’s team, the women’s squad also won four events. The star of the meet for Rhode Island was senior Janel Conley, who won both the 60-meter hurdles and the high jump. Rounding out the list of victors were Mariah Claudio, who added to her impressive and historic season by winning the 400-meter run, and senior Keiko Hector who won the pentathlon.
Other highlights were the performance of senior Katja Neves who was able to grab third in the weight throw, as well as the mark in the high jump earned by Hector, who finished just outside the top three in fourth place.
Both teams next travel to Boston University as they take part in the New England Championships on Friday and Saturday.