St. John's Dominates at Bill Ward Invite|
Dec. 7, 2017
SOUTH HUNTINGTON, N.Y. - The St. John’s track and field team started the season with a bang on Thursday evening, winning a total of 10 events for the third-consecutive season and finishing as the top-collegiate athlete in three other meets at the eighth annual Bill Ward Invite from St. Anthony’s High School in South Huntington, N.Y.
“I was very pleased with our opening effort tonight,” said St. John’s head coach Jim Hurt. “We had a host of winners which sets the tone for the rest of the season.”
After assembling the largest track and field roster in the history of St. John’s, Coach Hurt’s depth was on full display Thursday evening with 10 different student-athletes winning or finishing as the top-collegiate participant in an event.
Senior Denesha Ransome got the night started for the Johnnies by claiming the 60-meter dash with a 7.71 time. Ransome defeated competitors from LIU Brooklyn and Fordham to claim the first of many gold medals for the Red Storm.
Freshman Leah Anderson welcomed herself to collegiate athletics with a resounding start by winning a pair of events. The Mount Vernon native first claimed the 200-meter dash by nearly a second (24.74) and followed up by winning the 400-meter run at 56.64.
Also competing in the 200-meter dash, Ransome finished third for the Johnnies while sophomore Destiny Davis posted a fourth-place mark. Senior Erica Graham (8th), freshmen Antonia Frazier (10th) and Beverly Val-Addo (12), and senior Chenoa Sebastian (14th) all placed in the top-15.
In the 400-meter run, a trio of runners also placed in the top-10 behind Anderson with junior Kafi Ottley (5th), freshman Jariah McFadden (8th), and sophomore Melissa Greaves (9th) reaching that mark.
Junior Torisha LaForce edged out a pair of Blackbirds in the 500-meter run to finish as the top-collegiate runner in the event. Senior Tiffany Perrier finished fourth among student-athletes in the same event.
In the 600-meter run, it was a battle for St. John’s as LaForce and freshman Leah Rivers entered as the only pair of participants in the event. Rivers was able to pull ahead after LaForce could not finish the race to claim another gold medal for the Red Storm.
The 800-meter run saw no change at the top as St. John’s swept the podium and earned fourth-place honors in the event. Senior Melissa Hidalgo won the event by over three seconds as she defeated junior Shannon Page (2nd) and sophomores Stephanie Gerland (3rd) and Jackie Gallagher (4th).
After fighting through an injury that cost her most of the cross country season, Hidalgo was able to battle back to claim the title in the 800-meter and finish as the top-collegiate racer in the mile run. Both Gerland and Gallagher finished close behind the senior in the mile to sweep the collegiate podium again.
Fellow sophomore Therese Gallagher used all of her energy on the 3000-meter run, finishing as the top-collegiate participant by over 35 seconds. Junior Nicole McCarthy, who finished the cross country season with one of her strongest meets of the year, collected a third-place mark among the student-athletes.
In the lone hurdles event, it was a battle of Johnnies at the top. Freshman Antonia Frazier collected her first-collegiate win, edging out Chenoa Sebastian in the 60-meter hurdles. Both Esmarelda Reyes and Lillith Ida also competed in the event, finishing fifth and sixth respectively.
Moving into the jumps, Reyes and senior Danica Wens put together solid performances in the high jump to finish third and fourth.
All-BIG EAST honoree in the long jump, senior Anointing Onuoha established her dominance in the event on Thursday, setting a new personal best at 5.75 meters. Erica Graham finished second in the event while Evans grabbed a fourth-place finish.
Onuoha wasn’t finished there, however, as the senior then proceeded to set another personal best in the triple jump with a towering 11.69-meter finish to win the event. Freshman Breanne Gooden garnered second-place honors with a 9.78-meter jump.
The throwing events continued the domination by St. John’s as the Red Storm swept the podium in both the shot put and weight throw.
Sophomore Amarys Berry won the shot put event with a final throw of 13.33 meters. It was a good start to the season for the sophomore, who did not compete last season.
Three-time BIG EAST Indoor honoree, Nyla Woods dominated the weight throw with a whopping 17.40-meter throw to win the event. Woods also claimed second-place honors in the shot put.
The Johnnies finished the throwing events by placing first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh in both the shot put and the weight throw.
Thursday marked the only meet prior to the winter break for St. John’s as the Red Storm gets the opportunity to take the winter break to refresh and prepare for the Towson Tiger Invitational on Jan. 13 at the New Balance Track & Field Armory.