Jan. 31, 2014
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Three individual titles and a second-place team trophy highlighted a successful two days for the St. John’s women’s track & field team at the 2014 Metropolitan Indoor Championships held at Manhattan College in Bronx, N.Y., and the New Balance Armory Track & Field Center in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan on Jan. 30-31.
Scoring 104 points, the Red Storm secured its third consecutive runner-up finish in the team race at the indoor “Mets,” as BIG EAST Conference partner Rutgers scored 157 points to claim the title. In all, St. John’s recorded 23 individual top-10 finishes and saw all three of its relays post top-5 finishes.
“I thought our girls really did a great job today and yesterday,” said Red Storm head coach Jim Hurt. “We tried to get to the top of the podium and didn’t quite make it, but we had some great efforts nonetheless. Our sprint corps was outstanding, putting four people in the finals of the 60-meters and having three score in the 200-meters. Claire Mooney looked awesome in the 500-meters, and Danette Hinton and Ann Dagrin had a great meet in the throws. We’ve got some ways to go yet to get where we really want to be, but our younger kids got some much needed experience and we are looking forward to the next couple of weeks.”
Mooney, a junior, did not disappoint in her season debut at her preferred event, defending her 500-meter Metropolitan Championships title from a year ago with a brilliant 1:12.38 clocking, a full 2.5 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Mooney’s time was just a fraction off of her personal best of 1:12.01 which she set last year in a winning effort at the ECAC Championships. In the same race, junior Nastasya Rodriquez also ran an impressive race to claim third in a seasonal-best time of 1:15.91.
Also claiming an individual title on the track was senior Rikka Lovely, as the Red Storm captain posted a seasonal-best time of 7.56 seconds in the 60-meter dash finals to top a loaded field. Lovely was just 0.05 seconds away from equaling her lifetime best and led three more St. John’s scorers in the event with classmate Corrine Williams claiming seventh in 7.85 seconds, junior LaTasha Collins eighth in 7.88 seconds and senior Maya Lewis ninth in 7.89 seconds. Lovely turned in another stellar performance in the 200-meter dash, claiming runner-up honors with a time of 24.34 seconds. Adding to the Red Storm cause in the event, sophomore Shenika King placed sixth in 25.13 seconds and Williams was seventh in 25.37 seconds, both seasonal bests.
St. John’s final event win of the two-day meet came on Thursday, as Hinton won the weight throw competition held in Manhattan College’s Draddy Gym with a toss of 18.46 meters, the senior’s second title already this season. Finishing a number of spots higher than her seeding, sophomore Ann Dagrin made it a 1-2 sweep for the Red Storm in the event by posting a 2-foot personal best of 17.03 meters to place second.
As expected, St. John’s scored a number of points in the 400-meter dash, with sophomore Pariis Garcia leading the way with a third-place finish and a new personal-best time of 56.80 seconds. Garcia was closely followed by senior Shayna Presley, who placed fourth in 57.21 seconds. Senior Amber Allen also scored in the event, finishing eighth in 58.60 seconds.
In the middle distance and distance events, sophomore Veronica Thompson scored with a fourth-place finish in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:14.26 and senior Chelsea Trant scored in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:44.10.
Other top-10 individual finishes at the Metropolitan Indoor Championships for the Red Storm were posted by senior Michelle Duffy (9th, 3:03.89) in the 1,000-meter run, freshman Gabrielle Houston (T-7 th, 1.50 meters) in the high jump, freshman Kenyatta Louis (8th, 10.94 meters) and Shequell Higgs (9th, 10.80 meters) in the long jump, and seniors Gina Frisa (5th, 2417 pts.) and Radiya Buchana (6th, 2084 pts.) in the pentathlon.
In the meet’s final event, Mooney, Garcia, Presley and Allen combined to place second in the 4x400-meter relay in 3:47.08, St. John’s second-fastest time this indoor season.
The Red Storm returns to the New Balance Armory Track & Field Center next weekend to compete in the Armory Collegiate Invitational on Feb. 7-8.