The LIU-Brooklyn Blackbird men and women both finished second in their respective final tallies, with the men posting 154 points and the women completing championships with 158. The St. Francis Terriers’ men came in ninth place with a total of 22 team points, while the women had 10 points and finished in 10th place.
Rodney, Aidoo lead LIU dominance
In the men’s 100-meter dash, the Blackbirds took each of the top five spots in dominating fashion with senior Brendon Rodney, who took home Most Valuable Performer honors, ahead of the pack as he blazed the track with a time of 10.27, a new conference meet record.
Rodney also posted a 20.50 second 200-meter sprint, which helped him earn Most Outstanding Track Performer for male sprinters.
In the 200, the Blackbirds also took him second, third, and fourth place. Junior Delano Davis finished as the runner-up to Rodney in both events, finishing with a 10.57 100-meter dash and a 21.42 200-meter sprint.
The Blackbird dominance extended to the 400-meter dash where they claimed four top-seven spots, led by senior Alistair McLean who dashed a 48.56.
For the women, senior Stephanie Aidoo took home the gold in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.86, with three of her Blackbird teammates grabbing top-eight spots to get some points on the LIU board. Aidoo also claimed victory in the 200-meter scurry with a time of 24.41, and three more Blackbirds claimed top-five slots to follow suit.
Continuing to dominate in the sprints, Cassandra Jones (54.97) edged out teammate and fellow senior Cemorne Baugh (54.98) to collect first place in the 400-meter race.
Adding to LIU’s gold-filled weekend
Mica-Jonathan Petit-Homme, who also scored in the men’s 400, routed the field with a 53.43 showing in the 400-meter hurdles, and will once again represent the Blackbirds, along with the aforementioned Rodney, at the NCAA Division I East Region Championships.
Junior Jarl Cajuste, who also finished seventh in the 400-meter hurdles, earned the bronze medal in the 110-meter hurdles after putting up a time of 14.42.
Blackbird hurdlers Gabriella Ade-Onojobi, Alea Stevens and Shantae McDonald showed out in the 100 and 400m hurdle events. In the 100, Ade-Onojobi struck gold with a time of 13.93. McDonald finished in second with a time of 13.99, followed by Stevens who came in fourth (14.26). In the 400m, it was Stevens who earned the highest spot in the podium with a 1:01 time. Fellow senior Ade-Onojobi finished fifth (1:06), and the sophomore McDonald came in eighth (1:08).
Adam Walker-Khan added 20 points to the substantial Blackbird total by doubling up with gold medals in the men’s triple jump and long jump field events. Walker-Khan jumped 14.28m in the triple, and 7.00m in the long jump, while also taking home Most Outstanding Field Performer (Jumps) honors.
Senior Kyaira Wright-Harmon, who won the won the high jump championship (1.75m), also captured bronze in the long jump (5.36m) and triple jump (11.48m), which earned her Most Outstanding Field Performer (Jumps) for the weekend.
Another standout showing came in the relays, where the Blackbirds racked up 10 points with their respective showcase in the 4x400 meter team performance. The men’s 4x400 team of DeShawn Burton, and the all previously mentioned Rodney, Petit-Homme and Mclean finished in 3:16 to take the gold.
The Blackbird women continued to exude promise as their relay squads stepped up to the challenge and racked up gold medals in both the 4x1 and 4x4.
The 4x100 team of Baugh, Ade-Onojobi, McDonald and senior Anise Cuffee posted a 46.95, while the 4x4 team of the weekend’s Most Outstanding Performer (Sprints) Aidoo, followed by the previously mentioned Jones, sophomore Cayla Coleman and senior Satima Chambers, were victorious with a collective time of 3:50.
Maya’s golden leap, a 4x100 for the books
The outdoor championships were Maya McDuffie’s time for redemption.
The Terrier senior earned the school’s lone gold medal of the event. She jumped 11.51 meters in the women’s triple jump, piling up all 10 of the team’s points for the weekend. This was in response to jumping 10.74 meters in the winter indoor season, which placed her 10th in the conference, which sits on the outside looking in of collecting points.
McDuffie is a previous bronze medal winner in the triple jump, having earned third place at the 2014 NEC indoor championship.
One of the more satisfying performances from the squad representing the Small College of Big Dreams came on the 4x100 meter relay, where the Terriers totaled eight points, and landed a silver medal. The team of Lamar and Luther Gillespie, Paul Clarke and Stephen Reynolds posted a 42.55 time in the 4x1, which gave them the second best relay of the weekend.
The Central Connecticut State Blue Devils, who won the overall NEC title, bested the Terriers by .43 seconds.
Terrier junior Luis Porto, who was an all-conference performer this past cross-country season, battled through a ripped spike to finish seventh in the men’s 1500-meter run with a time of 3:59. This marked a personal best for Porto, who managed to put points on the board for the Terriers with his admirable effort.
Teammate and freshman Fredis Baires tacked on five points with his showing in the 10,000 meter race, finishing with a time of 32:43, which placed him in fourth overall and first amongst competing freshmen.
Senior Jonathan Harrison threw 42.33 meters in the discus, finishing in fifth place and collecting four points for St. Francis.
“It was great to see the team as a whole approach this season with a renewed sense of purpose,” said Terriers head coach Kyle Brown. “Despite many challenges, we had some great performances which were topped off by Maya McDuffie being crowned NEC champion in the women’s triple jump, and Fredis finishing fourth in the men’s 10k.”
Follow Bryan Fonseca on Twitter at @BryanFonsecaNY.