Track teams come out on top at conference meet

After impressive performances by the College’s indoor track and field team in both the Mercer County Duals and Thompson Invitational, it was only appropriate for the Lions to continue their dominance going into the New Jersey Athletic Association (NJAC) Championships this past weekend.

They did just that by sweeping the 2005 NJAC Indoor Track and Field Championships at the 168th Street Armory, as both the men and women’s teams won team titles. The College has swept every indoor championship since the conference began conducting the meet in 1998.

As for notable personal awards, junior Erika Huggler won the Gerrity Award as the Most Outstanding Female Athlete, while the College’s rookie head coach, Eric Mobley, was named the Men’s Coach of the Year at the meet.

The Lions’ men captured 11 of the 18 events contested, totaling 282 points. On the women’s side, the Lions took first-place honors in 11 events, scoring a total of 263 points.

The NJAC Championship started last Friday with the men’s and women’s weight throws taking place at the College. The Lions’ men captured the first three spots in the standings, with junior Jeff Schwerdtman leading the Lions, with a 15.53 meter throw, followed by freshman Brian Donatelli and junior Chris Tranchina throwing for a distance of 15.49 and 15.23 meters, respectively.

The remainder of the NJAC Championship events were held on Saturday in New York City, where junior Jenna Fasulo established a new meet record by taking the 5,000-meter run in a time of 18:28.09, besting the previous record by almost four seconds.

Not dwelling on personal achievement, Fasulo noted that the team had a great day overall. “It is great to defend the title over so many years,” Fasulo said. “The team has worked really hard and it’s great to have accomplished what we did.”

Huggler led the women with an individual first-place finish in the 55-meter hurdles (8.56) as well as two first place relay team finishes in the 4×200-meter relay (1:46.40) and 4×800-meter relay (10:14.44). Huggler also finished third in the 55-meter dash with a time of 7.66 seconds.

Junior Karim Cockrell led the Lions’ men in three individual events and one relay event. He finished second in the long jump with a distance of 6.87 meters, the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.50 seconds and the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.32 seconds. Cockrell also helped the College take first place in the 4×400-meter relay (3:19.65). Sophomore Colin Pierce won the triple jump for the College with the distance of 12.98 meters while sophomore Ed Young took first in the high jump at 1.95 meters.

This Friday, the Lions will once again travel to New York for the New York University Invitational. After that, the team will compete in the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships on March 4-5 at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y.

“Everyone’s looking forward to the ECAC,” Pierce said. “It’s a big meet and we think we have a good chance.”