by Tyler Roaix
The Central Connecticut track and field team continued a strong 2018 indoor campaign with an impressive showing at the Joe Donahue Invitational. The event took place in Boston, MA and included athletes from CCSU, Northeastern, Hartford and UMass Amherst.
The men took home five victories on the afternoon. Sophomore Amaziah Gadson got the success started early with a win in the high jump, clearing a 1.93-meter jump.
Junior sprinter Akiel Smith set the tone early in the running events with a win in the 60-meter dash, posting a 6.99-second time. Classmate Alex Norstrom continued his strong campaign in the distance events with a win in the 3,000-meter run.
Coach Eric Blake highlighted two other Blue Devils who also notched first-place victories.
“Sam Barecki set a school record and won the vault. So that’s impressive and he’s really coming into his own right now. Austin Trainor won the 1,000-meter too and has been looking better and better each week,” Blake said.
Outside of the five victories, the men also had nine athletes set personal bests in their respective events.
On the women’s side, the Blue Devils did not tally any victories. However, they still made their presence known on the leader boards.
CCSU set eight new personal best records at the Donahue games alone. Junior distance runner Dawn Hubbell set a new best in the mile, running it in 5:08.09. Blake was impressed with Hubbell, admitting that she typically does not compete in the mile, but “she is more of a 3K and 5K runner,” according to Hubbell.
Sophomores Hailey Rospierski and Megan Brawner also had strong showings, finishing third or better in their respective events.
“We are at that point in the season where we are putting a lot of work in, which I think will benefit down the road,” Blake said of his team’s performance.
Despite the success, Central also faced the injury-bug throughout the event. Injuries forced the team to withdraw or not finish multiple events.
“We definitely had some smaller injuries that kept us from performing our best,” Blake admitted. “We had to scratch some late events, trying to be smart with bigger competitions down the road.”
The scariest moment of the day for CCSU came with the competition winding down in the women’s distance medley relay (DMR). On her fourth lap, Brawner fell to the track for several seconds before struggling to get back up. She had to be helped off, but Blake assured that she was going to be okay.
The Blue Devils will be back in action Jan. 26 and 27 at Boston University for the John Thomas Terrier Classic, in what Blake describes as “a very big meet for us.”
“We aren’t firing on all cylinders yet at all but there are still some good things to see so we just have to keep it going each week,” Blake said.