Feb. 24, 2009


Courtesy of TCNJ Athleitcs

NEW YORK - The College of New Jersey swept to its 12th consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships on February 23 at the New Balance 168th Street Armory, as the Lions took first place in the men’s meet with 171.50 points, and claimed the women’s title with 240. Ramapo College finished second in each meet.

The TCNJ men and women have won every indoor championship since the conference began conducting the meet in 1998.

TCNJ’s men won three of 18 events—the weight throw, distance medley relay and mile run—and scored 171.50 points, to finish 38 points ahead of second-place Ramapo (133.50). New Jersey City University was third with 88 points, winning the 4x200 and 4x400-meter relays and 400-meter dash. Kean University (73.50) finished fourth and won the most events with four, taking the shot put, long jump, triple jump and high jump. Rowan University was fifth (58.50), followed by Montclair State University (56), Rutgers University-Camden (46), Rutgers-Newark (42) and Richard Stockton College (24) in the nine-team field.

TCNJ’s 240 points gave the Lions a 110-point margin over second-place Ramapo (130). TCNJ won half of the events, claiming titles in the long jump, 55-meter hurdles, distance medley relay, mile run, 400-meter dash, 800-meter run, 3,000-meter run, 4x400 and 4x800-meter relays. Richard Stockton, which had winners in the weight throw, pole vault, high jump and 5,000-meter run, was third with 95.50 points, followed by Rowan (77), New Jersey City (49), Montclair State (41), Kean (22.50), Rutgers-Camden (7) and Rutgers-Newark (6).

William Brown of Montclair State and Ebony Barnes of New Jersey City were honored as the Most Outstanding Male and Female Athletes for the 2008-09 season. Barnes, a senior at NJCU, won the 55-meter dash for the third consecutive year, in an NCAA provisional time of 7.18 seconds. She also captured the gold in the 200-meter dash in 25.28 seconds. Brown, a sophomore for the Red Hawks, automatically qualified for the NCAAs in the 55-meter hurdles when he repeated as NJAC champion in 7.45 seconds, breaking the NJAC record of 7.49 by MSU’s Enrique Llamos in 2002.  Brown was the Outstanding Track Athlete in last year’s meet.

The co-Outstanding Male Track Athletes of the Year were Montclair State freshman Damier Johnson and Rutgers-Camden junior Frank Iwanicki. Johnson provisionally qualified for the NCAAs in the 55-meter dash and broke the NJAC record with a time of 6.44 seconds—1/100th of a second better than the previous mark of 6.45 by TCNJ’s Eric Greene in 2003 and NJCU’s Ronald Hussey and Anthony Miles in 2006. He also won the 200-meter dash in 22.35 seconds. Iwanicki claimed first place in the 800-meter run in an NCAA provisional time of 1:53.27.

Craig Van Leeuwen of Ramapo was named the Outstanding Male Field Athlete after he broke the NJAC record in the pole vault in an NCAA qualifying height of 5.05 meters, topping the previous mark of 4.88 set last year by Stockton’s Anthony DeFeo.

Aaron Lucas of Kean was voted the Men’s Rookie of the Year after taking titles in the long jump (6.93 meters) and the high jump in an NCAA provisional height of 2.02 meters.

The Outstanding Female Track Athlete went to Sophia Davis of Ramapo, who led off the Roadrunners winning 4x200-meter relay in 1:46.21, while finishing second in the 200-meter dash and 4x400 relay.

The Outstanding Female Field Athlete is sophomore Monique Riddick of Montclair State, the defending national champion in the shot put, who defended her NJAC crown in the event and automatically qualified for the NCAAs while crushing the conference record with a throw of 14.29 meters. The old record was 13.78 by Nacole Moore of Montclair in 2002.

Ramapo’s Anita Rogers was voted the Women’s Rookie of the Year. She won the triple jump in 11.75 meters—one centimeter shy of the NJAC record while posting an NCAA provisional distance—and anchored the 4x200-relay.

On the men’s side, Mike Jackson of Ramapo captured the NJAC Men’s Coach of the Year for the second year in a row after leading the Roadrunners to another second-place finish at the meet. TCNJ head coach Philip Jennings was selected as the NJAC Women’s Coach of the Year after leading the Lions to their 12th straight title.

In other men’s highlights at the meet, sophomore Dennie Waite of TCNJ set a conference record in the mile run in 4:18.11, breaking the mark of 4:18.43 by TCNJ’s Brian Kopnicki in 2007.

In the 4x200-meter relay, NJCU’s tandem of sophomores Jaymark Bailey, Marc Robinson, Sherman Goree, and Dean McCleese repeated as champions in 1:29.10, winning by 2.47 seconds.

On the women’s side, senior Stephanie Aromando of Richard Stockton won the weight throw for the third consecutive year, joining NJCU’s Barnes as the only two three-time individual winners this season. She had a throw of 13.66.

Senior Stephanie Herrick repeated as NJAC champion in the mile run, clocking 5:06.32. TCNJ also won the 4x400-meter relay again, as the group of Alexandra Tomaselli, Meryl Wimberley, Rochelle Prevard, and Jianna Spadaccini claimed the gold.

Prior to the opening of the 2009 championship, the league honored the memory of the late G. Larry James, long-time Richard Stockton College athletics director, who passed away on November 6, 2008, with a moment of silence.