T&F: ‘Cats grab six wins at Big East Championships

John Whalon

The men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams traveled to Akron, Ohio, last weekend for the indoor Big East Championship. The 17th-ranked women’s team had a strong performance at the event, finishing tied for fourth place with Pittsburgh with 76 points. The men, however, did not fare as well, finishing in 10th place out of 12 teams with only 37 points.

Junior distance runner Frances Koons continued her phenomenal and record-breaking season, winning two events: the 1-mile run and the 1,000-meter run. During the meet, Koons was also given the honor of Women’s Big East Most Outstanding Track Performer. Right behind Koons in the 1,000-meter run was sophomore Ellen Dougherty, who finished four seconds behind Koons to take second place in the event. Senior Monique Morgan also had a great day, winning the 60-meter hurdles and setting a venue record with a time of 8.21 seconds.

The women’s team also took the top two spots in the 800-meter run, with senior Akilah Vargas winning the event and junior Arusha McKenzie finishing less than a second behind her. Sophomore Jordan Sarruda, Dougherty, Koons and Vargas led the ‘Cats to their fifth event victory in the 4×800-meter relay and also set another record for the track, smashing the previous record by almost nine seconds.

Unlike the women, ‘Nova’s men’s team had some trouble over the weekend at the conference championships. Sophomore sprinter Elvis Lewis was the only member of the men’s team to win an event, capturing first place in the 400-meter dash.

However, the team did have strong performances, from seniors Drew Eckman and Robert McDade. In the 500-meter dash, Eckman finished second behind Greg Gomes from Seton Hall University. Eckman’s time of 1:01.83 was faster than the venue record, but Gomes beat the old meet record of 1:01.60 by .06 seconds. Thrower McDade had some trouble with the shot put this weekend, finishing seventh, but he finished fifth in the weight throw event to contribute a total of six points to the team’s total.

Despite the team’s troubles this weekend, Eckman was named Big East/Aéropostale Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The award goes to an athlete who excels both on the field and in the classroom. Eckman was chosen from a field of 16 nominated athletes from the 10 Big East conference’s men’s sports.