Jan. 29, 2011
NEW YORK - The St. John's track & field team captured its first Indoor Metropolitan Championship title since 1989 in dramatic fashion, edging Rutgers 147-142, in action at the New Balance Armory in New York City.
The meet was decided in its final event, the 4x400-meter relay, as St. John's freshman Shayna Presley overtook the Scarlet Knights runner in the final straightaway to win the event and secure the title. Presley's relay teammates, Molly Ellis, Lauren Wynter and Rene Cousins, combined for a season-best time of 3:50.60, qualifying them for the ECAC Championships.
Over the course of the two-day meet, the Red Storm boasted 12 new career-best performances and six new ECAC or BIG EAST qualifiers. St. John's took first place in five different events.
"I'm so proud of the way we fought throughout the entire meet," head coach Jim Hurt said. "We put forth gutsy efforts in every event, and supported each other when it came down to the final relay. Today was the perfect example of what college championship track & field is all about. We hope we can carry this momentum into the rest of the indoor season."
While it was the relays that secured the victory at the end, senior Priscilla Frederick opened up the scoring in dominating fashion on Friday in the pentathlon. Competing in the high jump, long jump, shot put, 60-meter hurdles and 800-meter race, Frederick took first place in all but one event, tallying 3,612 points. That total marks a new career-best performance and ranks 13th in the country and first in the BIG EAST.
Frederick continued to be everywhere on the track on Saturday as she sprinted from the 60-meter hurdles to the shot put cage and back to the long jump, taking part in three different events simultaneously. Frederick placed seventh in the hurdles, seventh in the long jump, eighth in the shot put. She also won the high jump and came just short of breaking her own school record of 1.83 meters. Frederick finished the day with 25 points, besting her program record for individual points in a championship meet.
The Red Storm throwers also contributed points on Friday as Chanel King set a new personal best in the weight throw, tossing a distance of 17.30 meters and taking first place. Freshman Angela Onye finished fourth (15.97 meters), while classmate Danette Hinton threw a personal-record 14.91 meters and placed eighth. King also came in second in the shot put and freshman Natasha Amazan made it to the scoreboard with a fourth-place throw of 12.68 meters.
St. John's shattered personal records in the middle sprints as Ellis came from behind in the final stretch of the 400-meters to take first place with a career-best time of 56.33, qualifying her for the ECAC Championships. She also ran a personal-best time in the 200-meter dash, placing third with 25.42 seconds, despite running in the third heat. Senior Kim Piard qualified for the ECACs with a season-best sprint of 1:15.69 in the 500-meters. Wynter followed right behind with 1:15.81, also qualifying and eclipsing her personal record in the event.
Every St. John's runner in the 800-meter race set career bests as senior Sarah Sudbury finished fourth with 2:16.71. Freshman Angela Jarvela ran 2:22.06, while senior Katrina Schaefer finished in 2:30.52.
Freshman Michelle Duffy scored eight points in the 1,000-meters by running a career-best time of 2:58.40 and placing second. Junior Samantha Meyerhoff blasted her personal record in the mile, running 5:13.24 and placing fourth. Redshirt-sophomore Nicole Cocozza finished fifth in 5:13.31.
Freshman Chelsea Trant scored two points by placing seventh in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:44.83. Trant also placed fourth in the 5,000-meter race (18:22.23) while redshirt-sophomore Aryon Trujillo came in fifth (18:46.87).
Senior Vanessa Thompson finished right behind Frederick in the 60-meter hurdles, scoring one point in the finals. Freshmen Corrine Williams, Maya Lewis and Brittney Wright all ran in the 60-meter dash preliminaries, but didn't make the finals.
The Red Storm distance medley relay squad of Trujillo, Alexis Bean, Schaefer and Meyerhoff took fourth place with a time of 12:51.54. Heading into the penultimate relay, the 4x800-meters, St. John's held a mere one-point lead over Rutgers. The team of Sudbury, Piard, Cocozza and Duffy had run the same event on Friday in the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden, finishing fourth. On Saturday, the St. John's coaches shuffled the order and put in Jarvela to run the anchor leg. The relay team cruised to a first-place finish, timing out at 9:18.99, an ECAC-qualifying mark.
However, Rutgers still trailed by only three points after placing second in the 4x800-meters, setting up the dramatic finish in the 4x400-meter relay.
St. John's will split its squad next weekend, sending some athletes to Notre Dame, while others will compete in the New Balance Invitational at the Armory.