The UConn men’s indoor track and field team did not get the result they were looking for at the American Indoor Track and Field Championships with a third-place finish, behind Houston and Tulsa.
The event, held at the Armory in New York, came right down to the wire. Houston won with 135 total points, only one point ahead of Tulsa and four ahead of the Huskies.
Although it was not the result UConn was looking for, they were clearly part of a big-three that was head and shoulders above the rest of the AAC competition. Cincinnati and Memphis finished with 76.5 and 71 points respectively. South Florida and East Carolina rounded out the competition as the bottom two finishers.
P.J. Hayes posted a third-place finish in the 60-meter dash with a solid time of 6.86. He also placed third in the 200-meter dash, trailing Houston’s Leshon Collins for a second time in the two events. Collins also impressed with a victory in the 60m dash. Freshman Trentan Beram and sophomore Chinedu Amonu placed fifth and seventh respectively in the 200-meter dash for the Huskies. Beram made his presence felt as a freshman in the 400-meter dash, finishing in second-place with a time of 47.57.
In the 800-meter run UConn junior A.J. Chavez placed fifth behind three Tulsa runners and the winner from Houston. Sophomore Mike O’Donnell performed admirably for the Huskies in the mile run with a time of 4:06.36, good for second place and close to his season-best mark of 4:05.55. Fellow sophomore Nick Bertoline was not far behind O’Donnell with a 4:09.95 fifth-place finish.
Senior Dave Cotton delivered his best performance of the season in the 3000-meter run with an 8:19.28, followed closely by freshman teammate Mike McGonnigle. They finished sixth and seventh respectively. Tulsa, the AAC cross-country champions, displayed their dominance in the distance events. Tulsa sophomore Marc Scott won both the 3000-meter and the 5000-meter race.
UConn junior Selwyn Maxwell placed fourth in the 60-meter hurdles, while freshman Stephon Henry enjoyed a breakout performance with his sixth-place finish. Henry shattered his season-best time of 8.22 by posting a much-improved 8.14. The Huskies ran well in the team events, but were narrowly defeated by Tulsa and Houston in the 4×400 meter relay and finished second in the distance medley behind Tulsa.
Sophomore Demario Gray and freshman Jake Almquist came through with second and third place finishes respectively in the high jump, while juniors John Landis and Harley LaCroix placed fifth and seventh respectively in the long jump. Sophomore Craig Hunter, a favorite to contend for the pole-vault title, came in fourth place with a height of 5.13 meters. Husky junior Tosin Edwards dominated the weight throw by posting a season-best 19.91-meter throw. That throw was the best in the conference by a wide margin. Finally, UConn junior Patrick Mayer and senior captain Sean Walsh finished third and fourth respectively in the heptathlon.
The Huskies’ next meet will take place March 6-8 in Boston at the IC4A Championships, a meet that includes the premier programs of the Northeast region.
Story Contributed By: Peter Harasyko