SPRINGFIELD, MA- The Wheaton College men's and women's outdoor track & field teams combined on 13 all-league marks, seven NCAA national meet standards and four event wins during Saturday's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship at Springfield College's Blake Track. To earn all-conference honors, athletes needed to finish first or second in their respective events.
After placing fifth the past three years, the men placed fourth for the first time since 2006, as their 113 points fell 20 shy of third-place Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), while the women took fifth with 85 points, which was 15.5 points short of fourth-place Smith College. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) captured both team titles for the second straight year.
Highlighting the meet was Wheaton's men's 4x100-meter relay team, which not only posted an NCAA Championship automatic qualifying mark but also broke a school record while notching the fastest time ever at the conference championship. Seniors Mark Cimino (Danbury, CT/Danbury) and Merzudin Ibric (Revere, MA/Phillips Academy), junior Raiyan Banaji (Mumbai, India/American School of Bombay) and sophomore Cailean Robinson (Newton, MA/Phillips Exeter Academy) sprinted to a 40.84 finish.
Ibric played a role in three all-conference finishes and two event wins, as he joined junior Mark Williamson (Vienna, VA/James Madison) and freshmen Cecil Jeffrey (Framingham, MA/Rivers School) and Ben Miklovich (New Gloucester, ME/Gray-New Gloucester) for the top time in the 4x400M relay, as the quartet turned in a provisional mark of 3:15.87. Ibric also met a provisional standard in the 200M dash in 21.68, good for second place.
Williamson, Jeffrey and Miklovich went 1-2-3 in the 400M dash, with Williamson and Jeffrey each recording NCAA provisional times. Williamson finished in 48.18, while Jeffrey came in at 48.47. Sophomore Sheldon Allen (Dorchester, MA/Charlestown) rounded out the event wins in the 110M hurdles in 15.22.
Other runner-up and all-league marks came from Robinson in the 100M dash, with an NCAA time of 10.73, and junior Colin Fahey (Waltham, MA/Weston) during the 800M run. Robinson was third in the 200M dash, as was freshman Cameron Souza (Norton, MA/Saint Sebastian's School) in the high jump. Banaji, sophomore Jason Browne (Brooklyn, NY/Boys and Girls) and freshman Brandon Holmes (Highland Mills, NY/Monroe-Woodbury) took fourth in the 100M dash, 800M run and 110M hurdles, respectively, while junior Nick Kacher (Waltham, MA/Waltham) placed fifth in the 5,000M run.
On the women's side, sophomores Didine Jusme (Providence, RI/Classical) and Mickey Jusme (Providence, RI/Classical) combined on four second-place finishes. Didine was the runner up in the 100M hurdles and 200M dash, while Mickey was second in the long and triple jumps. Didine's 100M hurdles time of 14.85 during the trials eclipsed an NCAA provisional mark, while her 200M showing of 25.29 fell 0.04 ticks short of a national meet provisional standard.
Freshman Samantha Bennett (Weymouth, MA/Weymouth) took second in the 800M run, while the Jusme sisters alongside sophomore Lauren Cardarelli (Cranston, RI/La Salle Academy) and freshman Amanda Claflin (Pembroke, MA/Pembroke) finished third in the 4x100M relay. Claflin placed third during the long jump, as did sophomore Ashley Dell'Aira (Shoreham, NY/Shoreham-Wading River) in the triple.
Junior Caleigh Greenwell (Warwick, RI/La Salle Academy) and sophomore Savannah Geasey (Portsmouth, RI/Portsmouth) notched fourth-place marks in the hammer throw and 3,000M steeplechase, respectively, while freshman Sylvia Okoye (Stanhope, NJ/Pope John XXIII Regional) came in fifth in the discus throw and shot put.
The Wheaton squads are back in action next weekend for the NCAA New England Championship meets at Tufts University.