Rider Set for 2017 MAAC Indoor Championships This Weekend
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ – The Rider University track and field team is set to compete in the 2017 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Indoor Championships this weekend, February 18-19, at the 168th Street Armory in New York, NY.
“We are very excited that the MAAC Championships are finally here,” Rider University Head Coach Bob Hamer said. “We set up our program to be at our best for the meet. It is a great meet with tremendous excitement and passion from every team and athlete. Our goal is to compete for the team title. Monmouth is an incredibly formidable opponent, who has dominated the championship meet since entering the MAAC. However, we are going to give everything that we have in the pursuit of the trophy.”
Last winter, both the men and the women placed third in the two-day event.
“We have many standout performers that we feel will give us big points, but we will also need to rely on others to provide points in the lower places if we wish to succeed as a team,” Hamer added. “The big key is always getting off to a great start on day one with many finalists and big points in the field events that will be contested on Saturday. That is the easiest way to get great momentum going into Sunday.”
BRONCS TO WATCH THIS WEEKEND
Senior Johnathan Jackson (Roselle, NJ/Magnet), who is the reigning outdoor 800m MAAC Champion, leads a strong group runners in the event for Rider. Jackson has recorded the fastest time in the 800 this year by nearly three seconds (1:50.89). He and classmate Scott Wood (Florence, NJ/Holy Cross) also have the top-two times in the 1,000m. Their times were converted due to track size and venue. In January, Jackson was twice named the MAAC Men’s Track Performer of the Week.
“We are expecting Johnathan to lead with his experience and performance and hopefully inspire the others to big performances,” Hamer noted.
Sophomore Nate Bowie (Matawan, NJ/Matawan) leads an impressive group of Bronc hurdlers. Rider currently has four of the top-five times in the 60m hurdles during the indoor with Bowie leading way. Also looking to make an impact in the event for the Broncs are senior Devon Jefferson (Franklin Park, NJ/Franklin) and juniors Christin Patrick (East Orange, NJ/Seton Hall Prep) and Juan Baxter (Monmouth Junction, NJ/South Brunswick).
“We are really counting on this event to be a big point grabber for us,” Hamer stated. “They will definitely set the tone for us on the trials day and hopefully on Sunday in the finals as well.”
Senior Erik Adamcik (Hampton, NJ/North Hunterdon) is looking to add to his 3 MAAC titles this weekend as he enters the meet as the top seed in the pole vault. He was named the MAAC Men’s Field Performer of the Week back on January 7.
“Erik has been a very consistent performer in the MAAC meet for us and we expect more of the same this weekend,” Hamer added. “Having someone that you can rely on to get 10 points for you is a big confidence boost for the entire team.”
Also for the Rider men, the 4x400 relay quartet of Jackson, sophomores Jordan Davis (Absecon, NJ/Saint Joseph HS/Hammonton), Alvin Abraham (Egg Harbor, NJ/Egg Harbor Township) and Russell Malko (Whitehouse Station, NJ/Hunterdon Central) posted the fastest time of the season in the MAAC in late January at the John Thomas Terrier Invitational hosted by Boston University.
Junior Sara Gardner (Holland Township, NJ/Mount St. Mary's/Delaware Valley) and senior Daria Chadwick (Summit, NJ/Summit) lead a very good hurdle group on the women’s side and they will also contribute points in the high jump. Chadwick is the defending indoor high jump champion and she is looking to keep that streak alive, while also helping the team get major points from this event for the Broncs.
Earlier this season, Gardner set a new Rider record in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.61 and Chadwick is fourth on the all-time list with a time of 8.76. Those times rank second and third, respectively, in the event this season in the conference. Chadwick and sophomore Natalie Cowan (Hammonton, NJ/Hammonton) have the top-two marks in the MAAC in the high jump.
Freshman Fidele Jules (Tinton Falls, NJ/Red Bank Catholic) is the top thrower currently in the weight throw in the league entering this weekend. Jules was tabbed as the MAAC Women’s Field Performer of the Week back on January 24 after setting a new program record in the weight throw with a toss of 18.31m. She is part of a very much improved throwing group for the women and the Broncs are counting on big points from them in both throwing events. Other throwers looking to score points and make an impact are sophomore Ashley Berry (Somerset, NJ/Franklin) and freshman Ronetta Hunter (Burlington, NJ/Burlington Township). On January 7, Berry was named the MAAC Women’s Field Performer of the Week.
Senior Megan McGarrity (Philadelphia, PA/St. Basil's Academy) is the top seed in the 5,000m and is the second seed in the 3,000m, as the Broncs are expecting a very big weekend from her. McGarrity recorded the top time in the MAAC this season and set a new Rider record with a mark of 17:02.64.
“We will not be able to get many points in the distance events, but we will need to get big points when we can and this is an instance where we hope to get some big points,” Hamer said.
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