Albany Tabbed Unanimous Choice to Capture Eighth Straight Championship
Albany racked up a total of 64 points to take the top spot heading into the season. Boston University collected the final first-place vote and 56 points overall to check in ahead of Binghamton, which registered 50 points. New Hampshire grabbed the fourth spot with 41 points just in front of UMBC with 39. Maine took sixth in the poll with 29 points while Stony Brook (18), Vermont (17) and Hartford (10) round out the nine-team poll.
Consecutive title No. 8 looks to be in good hands for Albany as seven all-conference performers from 2011 return to keep the impressive streak intact. Peter Rowell (Scotia, N.Y./Scotia-Glenville/Manhattan) highlights that pack as the defending champion in the 400-meter hurdles. The senior won the race in 52.57 seconds in 2011 which set the stage for an appearance in the NCAA East Preliminary Round. The 2011 Most Outstanding Rookie, Kareem Morris (Albany, N.Y./Albany), also brings his talents back to the jumping pits along with Kadeem Howell (Great Neck, N.Y./Manhasset), the 2012 indoor long jump champion. Led by the 2011 Coach Staff of the Year, Albany also returns three members of its second-place 4X800 relay team this spring.
Boston University checks in at No. 2 in the poll and will have an opportunity to unseat Albany after a strong indoor championship showing back in February. The Terriers enter the outdoor season especially strong in the sprinting events. Defending champion in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, junior R.J. Page (Swedesboro, N.J./Kingsway Regional) earned the Most Outstanding Track Performer trophy in 2011 and set a conference record in the 200 (21.22). Tewado Latty (Kingston, Jamaica/White Plains (N.Y.)) broke the conference record in the 400 meter dash on his way to gold last spring as well.
After finishing 33 points behind Albany in 2011, Binghamton is primed to make a push at the outdoor title in 2012. Led by senior Erik van Ingen (Marathon, N.Y./Marathon), who won gold in the 1,500 and went on to become a first-team All-American in the same race, the Bearcats boast nine returning all-conference performers. Junior Jeff Martinez (Binghamton, N.Y./Johnson City) enters the spring of 2012 as the defending champion in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meter runs. Senior Robb Quiller (West Point, N.Y./James I. O’Neill) placed second in the pole vault last season while classmate Cazal Arnett (Queens, N.Y./Christ the King) returns after he finished second in both the 200 and 400 meter dashes a year ago.
Despite losing two all-conference performers from last season’s fifth-place team, New Hampshire will look to the emergence of freshman D’mahl McFadden (Penacook, N.H./Merrimack Valley) and the return of thrower Brice Paey (Milton, N.H./St. Thomas) as lifts to a higher finish. McFadden had an immediate impact for the Wildcats at February’s indoor championship taking silver in the 60 meter hurdles. Paey returns to outdoor action after red-shirting 2011 and appears to be in good form after winning the 2012 indoor shot put title. Also back for UNH are distance runner Daniel DeCrescenzo (New Milford, Conn./New Milford), who took third in the 10,000 meter run, and jumper Matthew Guarente (Saugus, Mass./Saugus), the 2011 high jump champion.
UMBC slides into the fifth spot according to league coaches, but the Retrievers will look to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish. The Retrievers will have to replace four all-conference performers but do have three returning that will score points this year. In the field, sophomore Mo Drammeh (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) collected silver in the high jump while senior Aaron Brooks (Upper Marlboro, Md./Dematha) took bronze in the shot put and discus. On the track, defending gold medalist in the 110 meter hurdles, Trae Proctor (Brandywine, Md./Thomas Stone) will lead the way for UMBC.
Maine aims to build on a sixth-place showing in 2011 boasting some of the conference’s top field performers. Trevor England (Auburn, Maine), the 2012 indoor triple jump champion, took silver in the same event outdoors in 2011 while junior Justin Gagne (Biddeford, Maine/Biddeford) and sophomore Wilson Adams (Barrington, R.I./Barrington) can do damage in the throwing events.
Stony Brook edged out Vermont for the No. 7 slot in the poll after a ninth-place finish last year. The Seawolves boast one of the top newcomers to the America East track scene in Eric Speakman (Napier, New Zealand/Taradale). The New Zealand native won the 3,000 meter run at the 2012 indoor championships and will lead Stony Brook into the outdoor season.
Led by a pair of seniors, Vermont checks in at the No. 8 position in the preseason coaches’ poll. Chris Lemieux (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Memorial) and Mike Grubert (Sturbridge, Mass.) both turned in all-conference performances in 2011 and will look to do the same in 2012. Lemieux took decathalon gold back to Burlington, a first in Catamount track and field history, and Grubert brought javelin silver back to the Green Mountain State.
Hartford posted its highest outdoor championship point total in school history last season en route to the program’s best finish and grabs the last spot in the poll. The Hawks’ only all-conference performer returns for his senior season in West Hartford. Anderson Emerole (Jamaica, N.Y./Manhattan Center for Math and Sciences) collected the bronze medal in the 400 meter dash and will lead the way for Hartford in 2012.
The 2012 Outdoor Track and Field Championship will be held May 5-6 at the University of Maine in Orono.