Men and Women’s Track Teams Compete at NJAC Championships

Photo courtesy of Ramapo Athletics

The men and women’s track teams participated in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Indoor Championships on Thursday. The men’s team finished in second place while the women’s team earned a third place finish.

“I don’t know if confident was the word, but we were very excited about our opportunity,” said Ramapo’s 11th year head coach Mike Jackson. “We knew it was going to be a major battle, we gave it our very best; we were ultimately excited, but definitely confident about it.”

For the men’s team, sophomore Kevin Diana scored 10 opening points for the Roadrunners in the 60-meter sprint, with a winning time of 7.02 seconds. In the same event, junior Phillip Dowell collected six points by finishing in third place with a time of 7.04 seconds, which was his personal best. Diana would score eight additional points in the 200-meter sprint, with a second place finish in 22.34 seconds.

The men’s team showed high firepower in the mile run. Freshman Jeremy Hernandez, who broke the school record for the fastest mile with a time of 4:09.22 at the Boston University Valentine Invitational on Feb. 14, won the mile at the NJACs with a time of 4:14.72. Fellow distance runners senior Peter Tuohy and junior Paul Juelis finished right behind him with second and third place times of 4:16.02 and 4:17.13, respectively. They combined for 24 Roadrunner points.

Hernandez broke another record in this event, as he set a new NJAC meet record for the fastest 800-meter run with a time of 1:52.14. Juelis added 10 more points for the Roadrunners with a win in the 3,000-meter run in 8:43.09.

The 4×200 meter relay team, comprised of sophomores Marquis Harris and Kevin Diana, and freshmen Aaron Wood and Conor Davidson, added eight points with a second place finish in 1:30.34. Dowell broke the school record for the longest distance in the triple jump with a winning distance of 14.74 meters.

Sophomore thrower Michael Begen finished the NJAC Championships with a first place finish in the shot put, with an ECAC qualifying and personal best distance of 14.58 meters. The men’s team scored 154 total points.

Tuohy acknowledged that Hernandez, Juelis and himself were fit to take on any challenge put in front of them

“Jeremy is very talented. It’s great to have someone like him to train with,” said Tuohy. “Going into NJACs, Jeremy, my other teammate Paul Juelis and myself all believed that we were fit to take on anyone in the conference. That is why we chose to run multiple events to score as many points as possible for our team. These guys are all my best friends outside of the sport and when we get on the track together we never let each other down.”

On the women’s side, junior Emily Brock won the 5,000-meter run for 10 points, with a winning time of 18:37.24. Fellow junior Lindsey Michaliszyn finished ninth in the same event with a time of 20:02.89. In addition to her win in the 5,000-meter run, Brock finished in fourth place in the 3,000-meter run in 10:57.23.

Sophomore Na’Shimah Allen finished second in the 400-meter sprint with a personal best time of 58.88. Senior Jasmine Hammonds finished in third place in the 200-meter sprint for six points.

Na’Shimah finished fourth in the 60-meter sprint for five points with a time of 8.06. Three Roadrunners had top 10 finishes in the 800-meter run. Freshman Paris Hughes led the way with a fourth place finish at 2:20.13. Hughes set a new school record for the fastest mile by a lady Roadrunner in the mile run with a time of of 5:06.34.

The 4×200-meter relay team of sophomore Mariah Blanton, Allen, Hammonds and sophomore Kim Guillaume placed second in the 4×200-meter relay team event with a time of 1:44.80. The distance relay team of freshmen Becky Scairpon and Melissa Guida, junior Graciela Morilla and freshman Jenny Wankmuller came in third in the distance medley relay team event at 13:39.47. The 4×800-meter relay team of junior sprinter Alicia Green, Cristea, senior Rachel Herrick and junior Brianna Springsteadah came in third in the 4×800-meter relay team event at 9:59.87.

Coach Jackson said he expected the women’s team to compete in a close meet.

“Well, we knew it was also going to be pretty close and that the women did have an outside shot,” said Jackson. “We were pretty strong and we have a lot of young people on the women’s side, but I felt we did an outstanding job with that group.”