April 25, 2009

PHILADELPHIA, PA...The New Jersey City University men's outdoor track and field team posted one of the top times in school history in the 4x200-meter relay and placed first overall among all Division III teams in the field in two events as the Gothic Knights competed on Friday afternoon at the 115th Penn Relays, hosted by the University of Pennsylvania at Franklin Field. The three-day pinnacle of collegiate track runs from April 23-25.


The relay of freshman BRIAN BUCKNOR (Irvington, NJ/St. Benedict's Prep), freshman GARRETT ELLIS (Plainfield, NJ/Union Catholic), sophomore MARC ROBINSON (Maplewood, NJ/St. Benedict's Prep) and freshman ISHMEAL ROBBINS (Irvington, NJ/Irvington) clocked 1:26.61 in the 800-meter relay.


In a predominantly Division I field, won by Texas A&M in 1:22.03, NJCU placed 26th overall among 55 schools and first of seven Division III teams. NJAC rival Kean University was more than three seconds slower (1:29.72). While there is no NCAA or ECAC championship in the event, it was only 45/100 of a second shy of the school record (1:26.16). Last year, Robinson was part of a squad that ran 1:26.31 at the Penn Relays.


NJCU ran in the fifth of seven heats and placed fifth. Only the University of South Carolina, which had the second best overall time (1:22.70), Mississippi State University (1:23.34), University of Maryland Eastern Shore (1:24.88) and Wake Forest University (1:25.11), had better times in the heat. NJCU was faster than Howard University (1:27.80), Long Island University (1:28.21), University of Pittsburgh (1:28.46) and Central State (128.69).


NJCU also competed in the 4x400 meter relay as the tandem of Bucknor, Robbins, sophomore ALEX BEST (Pleasantville, NJ/Pleasantville) and Ellis timed 3:19.07, to place 52nd of 81 schools and third overall among nine teams in the seventh of nine heats. It easily surpassed the ECAC Championship standard of 3:26.50 and was nearly two seconds better than the previous season-best mark of 3:20.98. NJCU's time was the best of 12 Division III schools in the 1600-meter relay competition.


In the seventh heat, UMBC placed first (3:16.96) and Mount Saint Mary's was second (3:19.07). But NJCU edged NJAC rival The College of New Jersey (3:19.25) and three Division I schools in the race.