By P.J. Wright, news staff
It was another great outing for the Northeastern University (NU) track and field programs.
The men finished in second (105.5 points) place and the women in third (86.5 points) place at the annual Joe Donahue games at Reggie Lewis Center on Friday, Jan. 22.
This was the fifth year in a row that NU has hosted the event named after Donahue, a track and field legend, throwing coach and Hall of Fame inductee at NU; who died of pancreatic cancer on Oct. 10, 2011.
Everyone participating, including coaches and officials, wore purple bibs in order to raise awareness for those who are affected by pancreatic cancer.
With 11 new personal bests on the day, the Huskies registered a new meet record, and came away winning five events overall.
The University of Rhode Island earned the top spot on the men’s side with 112 points, while the University of Central Florida came in first on the women’s side with 154 points.
Junior Paul Duffey led the way for the men’s squad with two first place victories. He won the distance medley teamed with freshmen Chris Jewett and Collin Rowe and sophomore Christian Stafford, and Duffey came out with the fastest time in the 1000-meter run, coming across at 2:28.86.
Duffey, who ranks first all-time in the 800-meter run at Northeastern, knows that if he wants to compete at the highest level, he has to put it all out there every race.
“My mindset for every meet is to just go out and win, no matter what it takes,” Duffey said. “If I win, I must have ran well, and the faster I run, the more opportunities I have to run at championship meets.”
Sophomore Ryan Kim came home with the top spot in the shot put with a new personal best of 16.86 meters, which put him fourth on the game’s top performance list. Freshman Shawn Bleichert put together an afternoon, finishing second in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.20 seconds.
In the relay events, the team of three freshmen – Patrice Williams, Amy Piccolo, and Katie Hanlon – along with senior veteran Camille Gooden had a great day on the women’s side, winning the 4×400 meter race with a 3:52.05 finish.
Freshman Danae Bucci also put together a tremendous performance with the best mark in the high jump at 1.71 meters, and she earned second on the all-time performance list at the games. Second-place finishers included senior Nicole Genard in shot put (5.74m) and senior Jacilyn Briggs in pole vault (3.75 meters).
Both programs have looked incredibly strong early on, and with newcomers making a tremendous impact so far, the team has more potential than ever.
“We are in shape to win the New England Championship for the second year in a row,” Duffey said. “We are a deep team, and with everyone healthy, there is no stopping us.”
The Red and Black will next head over to Boston University’s Terrier Classic on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 29 and 30.
Photo courtesy of Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics.