KINGSTON, R.I. - The University of Rhode Island Men's Track & Field team opens up its 2016-17 season and looks to begin its Atlantic 10 Indoor Championship title defense with the annual Blue-White Alumni Meet this Saturday at Mackal Field House beginning at 1 p.m.
- The Rams return 24 of the 30 athletes that medaled at last season's A-10 Indoor and Outdoor Championships.
- Of the 24 returners, 16 earned Second Team All-Conference recognition last year (Brandon Amo, DeAngelo Berry, Casey Burley, Michael DiMambro, Adam Franklin, Nigel Hill, Harrison Martin, Joseph Mattson, Alexander McGrainer, Marlon Montague, Abdul-Lateef Orulebaja, Jacob Reilly, Nigel Riley, John Stallworth, Nicholas White, Ryan Wilkes).
- Six of the eight Atlantic 10 champions from last season for both indoor and outdoor return for 2016-17 (Casey Burley, Nick Danner, Michael DiMambro, Mahlik Handley, Ondrej Honka, John Stallworth).
- Rhody welcomes 32 newcomers to this season's roster.
- Of the 32 new student-athletes, there are two seniors (Ray Cuse, Jeremy Octeau), one junior (Olusegun Vadis), two sophomores (Power Kanga, Newell Roberts) and 27 freshmen.
- The freshmen class is made up of a majority New Englanders, with 21 of the 27 frosh coming from either Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont.
- Six of the freshmen are local, coming from Rhode Island (Jake Cardello, Jon Celico, Yeury Galva, Qooby Iqbal, Nicolas Musumeci, Avery Williamson). The Ocean State is the second most represented state in this season's freshman class behind Massachusetts (7).
Returning Coaching Staff
- All three coaches from the men's track & field coaching staff last season return for this year.
- Headlining the staff is head coach John Copeland for his 35th year at URI.
- The 2015-16 season saw Copeland add to an already impressive resume with an A-10 Indoor title and a New England Indoor title.
- Those were the 20th overall A-10 title and 15th overall New England title of his coaching career at URI.
- Coming back for his ninth season at Rhode Island to coach the jumps and multi events is Rob Whitten.
- Since joining the coaching staff in 2008-09, Whitten has helped coach Rhody to five A-10 Indoor titles, three A-10 Outdoor titles, four New England Outdoor titles and one New England Indoor title.
- Returning for his seventh season as throws coach is Ben Carroll.
- In his first six years at Rhode Island, Carroll has coached throwers that have captured 12 individual Atlantic 10 Conference titles, seven team championships, 35 All-Conference selections and two A-10 Field Performer of the Meet awards.
School Records Broken
- Last indoor season saw one record broken.
- Last year, Michael DiMambro set the school record in the heptathlon with 5,531 points at the New England Championship.
- As for outdoor season, only the discus record fell.
- Sam Snyder threw the discus 54.03 meters at the Brown Open, breaking URI's 34-year-old record in the event.
- Snyder would go on to break his own record later in the season and set a new Atlantic 10 record in the discus with a throw of 56.79 meters at the A-10 Outdoor Championship.
- According to Copeland, the Rams staying injury-free is a big key to staying competitive in the Atlantic 10 and in New England this season.
- Last season, Rhode Island injuries led to athletes missing time, which Copeland says had an impact on the team's championship pursuit in the spring.
All Around the Map
- There are 28 members of this year's men's track & field team that reside outside of Rhode Island.
- After Rhode Island (23), the most represented state is New Jersey (11) followed by Connecticut (9).
- Two members of the track & field team come from other countries: Ray Cuse (France) and Ondrej Honka (Czech Republic).
- In total, there are 12 states and two countries represented on the roster.
No Home Field in A-10 Indoors
- For the first time since its inception in the 1992-93 season, the Atlantic 10 Indoor Championship will be held somewhere other than Mackal Field House.
- The Rams saw major success in that time at the A-10 Indoor Championship.
- Rhode Island finished fifth in the inaugural event. Since then, Rhody hasn't finished lower than third.
- Rhode Island has won the A-10 Indoor Championship 10 times: 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
- This year, the A-10 Indoor Championship will be held at the George Mason Field House in Fairfax, Va.
Blue-White Alumni Meet
- The annual event serves as an inter-squad competition with alumni as the team continues to prepare for the upcoming regular season.
- Past URI track athletes are encouraged to return to Mackal, where they will have an opportunity to compete against current Rhody student-athletes.
- The Blue-White Alumni Meet gives the Rhody student-athletes a chance to let loose in a competitive atmosphere before beginning the rest of the indoor schedule.
Order of Events for the Blue-White Alumni Meet
35 lb. Weight Throw
16 lb. Shot Put
60-Meter Hurdles (Trials)
60-Meter Dash (Trials)
60-Meter Hurdles (Finals)
60-Meter Dash (Finals)