The University of Rhode Island Men's Track team successfully defended its New England Intercollegiate Track title by winning the 108th annual NEICAAA Championship. Rhody amassed 123.5 points to defeat Northeastern, 88, Lowell, 57, Connecticut 53.5 as well as the other 41 schools represented. It was Rhody's tenth NEICAAA title (1937, 38, 39, 41, 43, 48, 92, 2003, 2004) and the first repeat victory in 56 years.
Lead by the field events and the sprints/hurdles, Rhody produced a balanced scoring attack by scoring in 13 of the 14 events they entered. Their depth yielded multiple scorers in all but one event. The field event men scored in all seven events for 58.5 points, while the trackmen scored in 6 events for 65 points. Rhody had 5 champions.
Leading the field events was Andre' Reid, junior, South Windsor, Conn., who broke his own outdoor shot record for the third time with a throw of 58'2" for second place. He followed that performance with a 191'0" javelin throw, 7th place, and a 165'1" discus throw for third place. Finishing 3rd in the javelin was Rob Scales, junior, Middletown, NJ, with a seasonal best of 196'9". Junior, Sean Bramley, New Paltz, N.Y., finished 7th in the shot (50'1.25") and 5th in the discus at 149'10". In the jumps, senior co-captain, Colin Aina, Providence, R.I., lead all Rhody scorers with a second place finish at 22'11". Taylor Majewski, junior, Warwick, N.Y., tied for 8th in the pole vault with a jump of 14'6". In the high jump, juniors Evan Lima, Warwick, R.I. finished 3rd with a personal best of 6'9" after having knee surgery in the fall. Kevin Lopes jumped 6'5" for 5th place. Ram Assistant Coach, Derek Yush, who coaches all the field events except the hammer and high jump, was pleased with his athlete's seasonal best and their multiple scoring. Yush is looking forward to the ICAAAA and NCAA regional.
Billy Johnston, senior co-captain, Warwick, R.I., was Rhody's lone field event champion as he won the hammer with a personal best of 199'2". Johnston had just come off impressive wins at the prestigious Penn Relays (197'7") and the Atlantic 10 Championships (197'2"). Freshman, Dan Godin, Coventry, R.I., threw 171'1" for seventh in the hammer.
Leading all scorers for the Rams was senior co-captain, Colin Aina. After placing second in the long jump and injuring his back, Aina ran trials and finals in 3 additional events. Aina lead off the winning 4x100m relay of Rob Johnson, Ashhad Agyapong and Eric Groce. This URI record-breaking team (41.32) easily won the New Englands at 41.63. He then captured his eighth New England high hurdle title with a time of 14.22. Freshmen, LaeJon Brooks and Chris Adams added 6th and 7th place finishes to back-up the senior. Later in the meet, back still hurting, Aina placed 8th in the 400mIH behind senior, Jesse Andoscia, second at 53.17, and freshman, LaeJon Brooks in 7th with a 54.47.
Sprint relay anchor, sophomore, Eric Groce, Rutland, Vt., won the 100m in 10.86 and then returned to "glide through" the 200m with a hip flexor injury to place 8th. The 200m was captured by freshman, Ashhad Agyapong, Trenton, NJ, in a personal best of 21.91. Groce had run 21.21 indoors to capture the New England title while Agyapong had run 47.75 indoors and 47.85 to finish second at the Atlantic 10 Championships last week. Darnell Douglas, freshman, Delmar, N.Y., added a 5th place at 11.09.
Rhody's final track event, the 4x400m, featured freshmen hurdlers Bremen deHaan, 50.7, and Darnell Douglas, 48.4, as well as senior Jesse Andocsia, 48.8 and sophomore, Rob Johnson, 48.9, for a total time of 3:16.89 and 5th place.
The team's next outing will be the ICAAAA Championships at Yale University on May 15-16, 2004. Rhode Island has 13 individual qualifiers plus the 4x100m and the 4x400m relays. The team will be looking for school records in the relays as well as some individual events. The season will conclude at the NCAA Regional Qualifier meet at Gainesville, Fla. on May 28-29, 2004 or at the NCAA Finals in Austin, Texas in June.