at MAAC Championships
Courtesy: Rider Sports Information  
Release:  02/21/2014

Rhea Phipps
Courtesy: Peter G. Borg (Rider University)
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College Indoor Track and Field
Rider at MAAC Championships
Women runner-up out of eight
Men finish fourth of seven

NEW YORK, N.Y.--The Rider University indoor track & field teams competed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships at the New Balance Armory on Friday evening.

The Rider women finished second with 94 points and the Rider men finished in fourth place (102 points). Monmouth University, the newest members of the MAAC, won on both the men’s (169 points) and women’s (215.50 points) side.

"Coming in second was a surprise on the women's side," said head coach Bob Hamer who was named the MAAC Outdoor Men's and Women's Coach of the Year last spring.  "We knew we had a chance, but we weren't sure because we haven't had the best seasons, but the women really outperformed themselves and competed admirably in a lot of events.  They really did a great job competing."

For the Rider women, senior Rhea Phipps (Basking Ridge/Ridge) reset her own Rider record, placing second in the weight throw in ECAC qualifying distance of 18.22m.  Phipps’ broke Olympic bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator’s record earlier this month against TCNJ, reaching 17.98m.  Phipps also finished sixth in the shot put (11.85m).

"Rhea (Phipps) has been improving each week and has been working real hard," Hamer said.  "She had a big breakthrough a few weeks ago and came close to winning today, but her second throw wasn't as strong. We think she still has some big throws left in her."

Sophomore Miranda Roberts (Sewell/Washington Twp.) placed second in the long jump (3.45m), tying her own Rider record.

"Miranda (Roberts) ha really done a great job," said Hamer.  "She is adjusting to vaulting with longer poles, which you have to do as you start to get higher. She definitely hit a plateau tonight, but this is something she is continually working on and gaining more confidence with." 

For the Rider men, junior Anthony DeFranco (Berkeley Heights/Governor Livingston) won the pole vault (3.45m) tying his own Rider record.  DeFranco also was eighth in the 60 meter dash (7.75).  Freshman Lamont Higgins (New Brunswick/St. Joseph) won MAAC gold in the 400 meter dash in an IC4A qualifying time of 48.88.  Higgins was also third in the 200-meter dash (22.24) and fourth in the 60 meter dash finals (6.99), running IC4A qualifying times in both events.  Senior Wilvenson Baptiste (Irvington) won the 200 meter dash (21.65) and placed third in the 400 meter dash (49.28), both IC4A qualifiers.

"Anthony (DeFranco) has worked extremely hard and had some exciting jumps trying to clear 16 feet. We're real excited for him," Hameri said.  We really weren't sure how we were going to use Lamont (Higgins) tonight.  "We wanted to use him where he would make the biggest impact, so we took a few risks running him in three events without much rest, but when you want to compete for championships, you have to take risks. He had an awesome meet. Your character is revealed in championship meets and his character was certainly revealed tonight. He's certainly a guy I'd want on my time when times are tough. He's a gamer, and he is a freshman, so he is only going to get better."

"Wilvenson (Baptiste) did a great job," Hamer added.  "He's really grown into a leader, and we asked a lot of him running the 400, 200 and 400 relay. That's something he would not have been able to do until this year. He's been healthy continuously for the past 18-24 months and he did a fantastic job.  He and Lamont came in looking to accomplish everything and anything."

Also for the Rider women, sophomore La'tazah Coleman (Middletown, Del./Appoquinimink) was third in both the 200 meter dash (24.77) and 60 meter dash (7.75m), sophomore Dashana Ransome (Irvington) was third in the long jump (5.58m) and fourth in the 60 meter hurdles (8.96) and senior Lauryn Strebeck (Dayton/South Brunswick) was third in the triple jump (11.56m).

Junior Emily Ritter (Millsboro, Del. /Sussex Tech) was fourth in both the one mile run (4:55.82) and the 3k (10:13.18).  Ritter ran an ECAC qualifying time in the one mile.  Graduate student Megan Elgin (Doylestown, Pa. /Central Bucks East) was fourth in the one mile run, freshman Chinwe Igwe (West Orange) (17:59.70) was fourth in shot put (12.23m) and junior Taylor Harmon (Robbinsville) was fifth in the high jump (1.55m).

Also for the Rider men, Junior Nasser Zayer (Staten Island, N.Y./St. Peter's) was third in the 3K (8:26.35) in IC4A qualifying time, freshman Erik Adamcik (Hampton/North Hunterdon) was fourth in the pole vault (4.50m) and freshman Kyle Bryant (Cherry Hill/Cherry Hill HS East) was fifth in the long jump (7.08m), reaching an IC4A qualifying mark. Bryant also finished seventh in the triple jump (13.82m) and junior George Solujich (East Windsor/Notre Dame) was fifth in the shot put (15.98m).

"We performed real well in some areas on the guys side, but we also had some events where we did not perform well in," said Hamer.  "Fourth place finishes kill you when you're looking to compete for championships. We have some things we need to fix if we are going to compete for a championship moving forward." 

Other women’s results included sophomore Nicolette Mateescu (Kendall Park/South Brunswick) placing seventh in the 5000 meter run (18:34.54).

Other men’s results included senior Joseph Carlin (Staten Island, N.Y./Staten Island Tech.) placing sixth in the 800 meter run (1:54.25) in IC4A qualifying time, freshman Johnathan Jackson (Roselle/Magnet) was sixth in the 60 meter hurdles (8.59), junior Andrew Pozo (Forked River/Toms River HS South), was seventh in the weight throw (16.46m) junior Anthony Dentino (Sewell/Washington Township) was eighth in the 5000 meter run (15:12.22) and freshman Wil Asamoah (Edison) was eighth in the 60-meter hurdle finals.  Asamoah’s preliminary time of 8.19 earned him an IC4A berth.

The men’s 4x400 relay team of Higgins, sophomore Darien Edwards (South Orange/St. Benedict's), Carlin and Baptiste placed first (3:17.82) in IC4A qualifying time.

The men’s distance medley relay (DMR) team of junior Derek Lake (Middletown, N.Y./Pine Bush), sophomore Jalen Thomas (Baltimore, Md./Reservoir), sophomore Sam Knipper (Randolph) and senior Matt Sampson (Manasquan) finished fourth in 10:28.74.

The women’s DMR team of Elgin, sophomore Olivia Rosenberger (North Wales, Pa./Gwynedd Mercy Academy), freshman Juliann Brand (Egg Harbor/Egg Harbor Twp.) and sophomore Stephanie Welte (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Basil's Academy) was third in 12:24.48.

The women’s 4x400 meter team of junior Ashley Edwards (Westfield), sophomore Alicia Osley (Dayton/South Brunswick), sophomore Johanna Blume (Newtown, Pa./Pennsbury) and Hummel was fourth in 4:05.08.

The Rider men and women both placed runner-up last year, the men to perennial MAAC Champion Manhattan, while the Saint Peter’s women won the MAAC Title last winter.

"The landscape of the MAAC has change dramatically with Monmouth and Quinnipiac joining the fold," said Hamer.  "That's something we need to learn to adapt to and we need to get better. We were missing some heavy hitters tonight who were unable to compete at the highest level or at all due to injury and some other issues. If we had them, we may have been able to close the gap on Monmouth a little bit."

Rider’s qualifiers will compete in the IC4A/ECAC Championships in Boston March 7-9.

-RU-

Men’s team results:

1.     Monmouth 169
2.     Manhattan 110
3.     Iona 108
4.     Rider 102
5.     Saint Peter’s 93
6.     Canisius 21
7.     Marist 19

Women’s team results:

1. Monmouth 215.50
2. Rider 94
3. Manhattan 82.50
4. Iona 81
5. Saint Peter’s 66
6 Quinnipiac 62
7. Marist 13
8. Canisius 10


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