Wheaton teams in top seven at ECACs, athletes reach six NCAA marks

SPRINGFIELD, MA- During their final chance to qualify for next week's NCAA Championship, Wheaton College track & field athletes combined to reach six provisional standards while breaking two school records at the two-day Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championship, which came to an end on Friday at Springfield College's Blake Track.

Wheaton joined Moravian College as the lone school to place each of its squads among the top seven, as the Lyon women took fifth out of 56 scoring teams with 44 points. They came within two points of New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) counterpart Springfield. The men were seventh among 56 with 31 points, placing two points ahead of the Pride while falling 1.5 points short of Buffalo State College and the State University of New York at Cortland, which tied for fifth. Moravian won both the men's and women's competitions.

In the 4x400-meter relay competition, senior Michael Wright (Baldwin, NY/Uniondale), junior Merzudin Ibric (Revere, MA/Phillips Academy), sophomore Mark Williamson (Vienna, VA/James Madison) and freshman Kyle Ricci (Warwick, RI/Bishop Hendricken) topped a field of 31 foursomes in an NCAA provisional time of 3:15.22, bettering the school record set on Saturday by 0.70 seconds. Wheaton's quartet won by 2.62 seconds, nearly matching the 2.80 ticks that separated the second- through 11th-place squads.

Junior Howard Powell (Brooklyn, NY/Boys and Girls) was the runner up in the 110M hurdles at 14.63, provisionally qualifying for NCAAs. Freshman Cailean Robinson (Newton, MA/Phillips Exeter Academy) was second in the 200M at 21.71, an NCAA time that left him just 0.08 seconds short of matching the school record. During the 100M, Robinson was fourth at 11.00.

Lyons scored points in seven women's events, including when the 4x100M relay squad won in 47.61 to reach an NCAA provisional standard. Senior Chizoba Ezeigwe (Brockton, MA/Thayer Academy), junior Renee Thompson (Hartford, CT/Weaver), sophomore Laurenmaria Smith (Providence, RI/Hope) and freshman Didine Jusme (Providence, RI/Classical) bested a 23-team field, coming within 0.31 seconds of an automatic qualifying time for the NCAA Championship.

Sophomore Erin Neville (North Providence, RI/La Salle Academy) met an NCAA standard in the high jump at 5' 5 3/4", tying for second. During the 4x400M relay, Ezeigwe, Thompson, senior Natana Jules (Brooklyn, NY/Boys and Girls) and freshman Lauren Cardarelli (Cranston, RI/La Salle Academy) took third in 3:53.10, provisionally qualifying them for the national meet.

Senior Morgan Jamiel (Warwick, RI/Toll Gate) eclipsed a 10-year-old program record in the heptathlon, tallying 4,056 points to edge out Kerry Teamey's '03 former mark of 4,011. Jamiel took second in the event and fell just 44 points shy of an NCAA standard.

During the long jump, freshman Mickey Jusme (Providence, RI/Classical) placed fourth at 17' 10 1/4", falling just 1 1/4" short of a provisional distance. Smith was fourth in the 200M at 25.68, and Jules finished sixth in the 400M with a time of 58.23.

Qualifying athletes will compete at the three-day NCAA Championship at Marietta College in Ohio beginning next Thursday. The national meet field will be announced on Monday.