by Tyler Roaix
Central Connecticut’s track and field team had another busy weekend in its outdoor season, competing in another three events.
Tyler Latham represented Central in strong fashion on Thursday and Friday, finishing second at Southern Connecticut’s Decathlon. Latham posted a score of 6,631, good for a personal record and just nine points behind Drew Nealey from Rhode Island.
The team was then split on Saturday. Head coach Eric Blake led a group of Blue Devils to Pennsylvania for the Bison Outdoor Classic.
The men represented well in Pennsylvania. Richard Grudzwick and Austin Trainor each ran in the 1,500-meter run. Grudzwick finished in 27th place in his first time ever running that distance, finishing in 3:51.64. Trainor also competing, finishing in 51st place in a time of 5:56.64. Alex Norstrom and Roberto Piotto ran the 10,000-meter race. Norstrom had a strong run, finishing in fourth and getting a new personal best of 29:57.56. Piotto picked up a new ‘PR’ also, finishing in 30:16. 10, good for 11th place.
The rest of the squad traveled up to Storrs to take on the UConn Northeast Challenge. The sprints saw a lot of Blue Devil success. Darryn Horner and Miles Fye-Moore placed 12th and 14th, respectively, in the 100-meter dash, each setting a new personal best in the process. Quincy Sanchez set two new personal records, in the 110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles. Sanchez placed sixth and ninth, respectively, in those events.
The success carried over into the field events. Kevorni Welsh set a new personal record in the high jump with a mark of 1.94 meters, giving him sixth place in the event. Marquis Ward also continued a stellar sophomore campaign with a new record in the long jump with a 6.83-meter leap. Classmate Nana Kissi set a new best mark of 11.07 meters in the shot put.
Blake realizes that, even with a lot of personal success, the men are not at full strength yet, and the focus is on making sure they are ready for the NEC Championships in a few weeks.
“We really need the men’s team to be 100 percent healthy and ready for a big weekend. We’re not there yet but hopefully in three weeks we will be,” Blake said.
The women followed the men, with several members picking up collegiate bests on the day.
In Storrs, freshmen runners Angie Rafter and Kaitlyn Accetura each set new bests in the 800-meter run. Rafter finished in fifth with a time of 2:15.93, while Accetura rounded out the top-20 in 2:43.15.
Sophomore Megan Brawner kept her strong season going, setting a new collegiate record in the 1,500-meter run in 4:39.55. Olivia Mondo and Kiley Rodriguez placed third and fifth, respectively, in the 5,000-meter run. Rodriguez’s time of 19:42.51 set a new personal best.
Hailey Rospierski and Abrah Toomey also had personal records to round out the Blue Devils’ effort. Rospierski set a new mark in the high jump with a leap of 1.67 meters. Toomey had a new record in the javelin, throwing for 38.82 meters, edging out her previous best of 37.95 meters.
But the star of the day was junior Sierra Nesmith, who won the 400-meter hurdles. Her time of 1:00.86 was not only a personal record, but it also qualified her for the ECAC Championships in May.
“The women’s team is as good as any team we have had. We may not have as much depth as other teams in the conference, which leaves us very little wiggle room for error, but the talent impresses me each day,” Blake said.
The Blue Devils will be back in action Friday and Saturday when they’ll take part in the Larry Ellis Invitational in Princeton, New Jersey. They’ll have their only home meet, the CCSU Blue Devil Invite, the following weekend. The NEC Championships will take place May 5 and 6.