By P.J. Wright, news staff
The Northeastern University (NU) women’s track and field program is the champion once again. The women won the NEICAAA New England Indoor Championship for the third-straight year on Saturday at Boston University (BU). The men followed suit, placing second overall with 101 total points, 25 shy of the top spot.
The women dominated the event from start to finish, tallying a total of 157 points, dwarfing the second-place University of Rhode Island’s 82.75 points and third-place University of Massachusetts’ 17.15.
“Our women were very deep, and we saw some folks really step up and do things that they hadn’t before,” head coach Cathrine Erickson told GoNU.com. “We are seeing some people really make their mark in the program.”
The Huskies put together four gold, 14 silver, and eight bronze performances between the men and women.
A pair of sophomores set the pace for NU with record-breaking showings.
Kelsey Sullivan started the weekend’s events with a bang, setting a new school record in the Pentathlon with 3,691 points.
Nick Fofana raised the bar on the men’s side, reaching a 13.73 meter mark in the shot put, an all-time New England record. Fofana also placed second in the 60-meter hurdles at 8.44 seconds and came in third in the heptathlon with 4,906 points.
Junior Jordan O’Dea won the title in the 5000-meter run with a time of 17:03.24, while her running mate, sophomore Brooke Wojeski, came in right behind her with a 17:24.90 second-place finish.
Freshman Amy Piccolo took home silver in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:11.46, and sophomore throwers Zoe Taitel and Ryan Kim both took home silver medals in their respective shot put events.
Both the men’s and women’s 60-meter hurdle competitors added to their successful campaigns with third and fourth places from sophomore Jordan Samuels and freshman Shawn Bleichert, as well as second and third finishes from junior Betsy Garnick and senior Nicole Genard.
“The hurdle group is pretty close,” Samuels said. “Shawn [Bleichert] and I have a really good relationship, and we also have Jared Lane who is a fifth-year red shirt. We are all extremely competitive, so practice can get intense sometimes, but I love it. We feed off of each other’s energy, and it’s just a really special group to be a part of.”
Garnick echoed Samuels’ sentiment regarding the competitive training environment among the hurdlers.
“Nicole [Genard] and I really push each other to get better during practices,” Garnick said of the duo’s competitiveness. “We both know what we have to work on in order to improve our times. If we buckle down and perfect our flaws, we could each drop a couple tenths of a second.”
Other silver finishers included junior Kyle Darrow in the 60-meter dash, senior Camille Gooden and junior Kwame Fordwor in the 200-meter dash, junior Paul Duffey in the 500-meter dash, and the distance medley relay group of Duffey and freshmen Dan Paiva, Chris Jewett and Collin Rowe.
The Huskies’ next challenge will be the IC4A/ECAC Championships, March 4 to March 6, at BU’s Track and Tennis Center.
“We have to go in ready to fight for it,” Samuels said. “It’s important for us to trust our training and do what we always do: Compete.”
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics.