College Indoor Track & Field:
Monday, February 26, 2007
By Mike Ballard
RAPTOR OF THE WEEK
Junior Mike Fox earned All-New Jersey Athletic Conference First Team honors by winning the 800 meters and anchoring the victorious distance medley team at the NJAC Indoor Track & Field Championships Feb. 19. He was named the Most Outstanding Male Athlete at the conference meet. Fox, who helped the distance medley team set a program record (10:35.49), was named the NJAC Men’s Track Athlete of the Week Feb. 20 for his accomplishments. It was his second weekly NJAC honor this season. He continued his brilliant week by breaking his own program record in the mile run (4:25.38) and running the leadoff leg on the record-setting 4x400 relay team (3:27.30) at the New York University FastTrack Invitational Feb. 23.
Feb. 19 New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships
(John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex, Toms River)
Men: 1. The College of New Jersey, 167; 2. Montclair State University, 99; 3. Ramapo College, 75; 4. Rowan University, 66; 5. Richard Stockton College, 56; 6. New Jersey City University, 52; 7. Rutgers-Camden, 28; 8. Kean University, 13.
Women: 1. The College of New Jersey, 222; 2. Richard Stockton College, 129; 3. Ramapo College, 63; 4. Montclair State University, 44; 5. Rowan University, 34; 6. New Jersey City University, 30; 7. Kean University, 13; Did not score Rutgers-Camden
Rutgers-Camden School Records:
* 55 M, Patrick Eigbe, 6.94 (Old: Eigbe, 7.0, Feb. 3, 2007 at Frank Colden Invitational)
* 3,000 M, Travis Stewart, 8:57.05 (Old: Stewart, 9:12.65, Feb. 3, 2007 at Frank Colden Invitational)
* Distance Medley (Jonathan Salamon, Stefon Coleman, Akeem Lloyd, Mike Fox), 10:35.49 (First time competing in event)
* 800 M, Mike Fox, 1:58.76
* Distance Medley, 10:35.49 (Jonathan Salamon, Stefon Coleman, Akeem Lloyd, Mike Fox)
Feb. 23 Fast Track Invitational (Armory, New York)
NO TEAM SCORES
Rutgers-Camden School Records:
* 55 M, Akeem Lloyd, 52.66 (Old: Lloyd, 53.10, Feb. 3, 2007 at Frank Colden Invitational)
Rutgers-Camden junior Mike Fox (Hainesport, NJ/Rancocas Valley) was named as the Most Outstanding Male Athlete at the New Jersey Athletic Conference 2007 Indoor Track and Field Championships, which were held at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River Feb. 19.
Fox captured the Gerrity Award for Most Outstanding Male Athlete after winning the 800-meter run with a 1:58.76 clocking and anchoring the Scarlet Raptors’ winning Distance Medley team (10:35.49). That team, which also included sophomores Jonathan Salamon (Bridgewater, NJ/St. Joseph-Metuchen) and Stefon Coleman (Penns Grove, NJ/Penns Grove) and freshman Akeem Lloyd (Atlantic City, NJ/Atlantic City), established a school record while running that event for the first time indoors.
Fox won the 800 meters despite competing in the slow heat, where he was the only person to score. He finished nearly seven seconds ahead of the second-place runner in his heat and his time was 1.35 seconds faster than the overall runnerup.
The College of New Jersey captured both the men’s team title (167 points) and the women’s title (222). Rutgers-Camden finished seventh out of eight teams in the men’s competition (28 points) and did not score in the women’s meet.
Overall, Fox contributed to 20 of the Raptors’ 28 team points as he earned First Team NJAC honors in the 800 and with the Distance Medley team. Rutgers-Camden also received six points from sophomore Travis Stewart (Runnemede, NJ/Triton Regional), who finished third in the 3,000-meter run with a program-record time of 8:57.05. Stewart broke his own mark of 9:12.65, set at the Frank Colden Invitational Feb. 3, 2007. That finish earned Stewart NJAC Honorable Mention recognition at 3,000 meters.
The Raptors also received one point apiece on sixth-place finishes by freshman Frank Iwanicki (Edgewater Park, NJ/Holy Cross) in the mile (4:38.74) and by the 4x400 relay team (3:34.25). The 4x400 team consisted of Salamon, Lloyd, Coleman and Iwanicki.
Sophomore Patrick Eigbe (Galloway, NJ/Absegami) finished 16th at 55 meters with a 6.94 clocking to lower his own school record of 7.0, set Feb. 3 at the Frank Colden Invitational. He also finished 11th at 200 meters (24.91).
Sophomore Michael McClain (Sewell, NJ/Bishop Eustace) had a busy day competing in the long jump, the triple jump and the 55-meter dash. He finished ninth in the long jump (5.04M, 16-6.5), 14th in the triple jump (10.57M, 34-8.25) and 23rd at 55 meters (7.89).
The Raptors’ sophomore Brandon Gordon (Haddon Township, NJ/Haddon Township) finished seventh in the 5,000-meter run (16:59.00).
Rutgers-Camden also had a pair of athletes compete in the shot put, including freshman Mark Smith (Vineland, NJ/Vineland) and the Raptors’ lone female, freshman Becca Taylor (Haddon Heights, NJ/Haddon Heights). Both athletes finished eighth overall in their respective competitions, with Smith recording a shot put of 13.29M or 43-7.25, and Taylor notching a distance of 9.19M, 30-2.
The Scarlet Raptors concluded the week by setting six indoor program records at the New York University FastTrack Invitational Friday night Feb. 23 at the Armory in New York City.
The Raptors’ strong performance was sparked by Salamon, Lloyd and Fox, who each set an individual mark and joined Coleman on the record-setting 4x400 relay. Salamon anchored that team, which finished 13th overall in a time of 3:27.36, breaking the old mark of 3:34.08, set by Salamon, Lloyd, Coleman and Iwanicki at the Frank Colden Invitational Feb. 3.
Lloyd ran a 52.66 to finish 59th in the 400-meter dash, breaking his own mark of 53.10 set at the same Frank Colden Invitational.
Fox lowered his own mark in the mile run, posting a 4:25.38 clocking to finish 21st in the event. His old mark was 4:29.76 at the Collegeville Indoor Classic Jan. 19.
Salamon posted a program mark of 1:07.75 while finishing 16th in the 500-meter dash, the first time the Raptors have competed in that event.
Iwanicki, meanwhile, posted a 2:35.07 clocking to set a program mark while finishing 21st at 1,000 meters. He broke the mark of 2:35.34 set by Fox at the Colden Invitational.
The team’s other record was set by Stewart, who lowered his own mark and finished 17th at 5,000 meters. His time of 15:26.23 beat his mark of 16:02.02 set at the Collegeville Indoor Classic.
Coleman also finished 27th at 500 meters in a time of 1:11.73.
Rutgers-Camden also received a strong performance from Smith in the shot put. He finished 16th with a put of 42-11.50 (13.09 M).
Fri. 23 Hampden-Sydney College 13, Rutgers-Camden 10
The Scarlet Raptors split their first two games of the season at the Hampden-Sydney College Spring Tournament before having their third game cancelled by the weather. They lost their opener when host Hampden-Sydney scored eight runs in the seventh inning for a 13-10 win Feb. 23. They posted their first win over Waynesburg College, 3-2, Feb. 24 as senior Jason Ronca (Eastampton, NJ/Rancocas Valley) hurled eight strong innings to notch his ninth career win and junior Andrew Lihotz (Philadelphia, PA/Northeast) earned his first save with a perfect ninth inning.
Ronca allowed seven hits, one walk and a pair of earned runs in his eight-inning stint. He struck out 10 to raise his career record to 9-4. It was a strong 2007 debut for the 6-2 righthander, who earned New Jersey Athletic Conference Honorable Mention status last season. Lihotz, who started all 10 of his games as a sophomore, nailed down the victory by retiring the side in order in the ninth inning. The southpaw ended the game with a strikeout.
The Scarlet Raptors scored single runs in the third and fifth innings to take a 2-0 lead. Junior shortstop Shawn Park (West Berlin, NJ/St. Joseph-Hammonton) hit a solo home run in the third. The Raptors added their second run following a leadoff fifth-inning single by junior right fielder Joe Midili (Sewell, NJ/Washington Township). He advanced on a wild pitch and a third-strike passed ball, which allowed freshman Dan Stuhlemmer (Collingswood, NJ/Camden Catholic) to reach base. Midili scored when Stuhlemmer stole second.
The Yellow Jackets tied the game with single runs of their own in the sixth and eighth, aided both times by junior left fielder Ryan Group and junior center fielder Brendon Steele.
In the sixth, Group doubled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a ground out by Steele. In the eighth, Group hit a two-out single, stole second, advanced to third on a single by Steele and scored on a wild pitch.
With the score tied, the Raptors notched the winning run in the bottom of the eighth following a leadoff walk to senior center fielder Nate Buchter (Blackwood, NJ/Highland Regional). He scored on a two-out double by freshman left fielder Steve Myers (Millville, NJ/Millville) for his first collegiate hit.
Midili, who went 2-for-3 with one run, was the lone Raptor to collect more than one hit, while Group went 2-for-2 with two runs for Waynesburg.
Park, who led all National Junior College Athletic Association Division III hitters in batting average last season at Camden County College (.530), continued his red-hot start for the Scarlet Raptors. He owns a .600 batting average (3-for-5) and an amazing .800 on-base percentage as the Raptors’ leadoff man, adding three walks and a pair of HBP in his 10 plate appearances. He has two runs scored and one RBI.
In their season opener Feb. 23, the Raptors watched Hampden-Sydney explode for eight runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on its way to a wild 13-10 victory.
The Tigers took advantage of six hits, two hit batsmen and an error as they rallied from a 9-5 deficit. The key hits of the inning were two-run singles by freshman second baseman Tyler Napier and junior third baseman Josh Michael.
Rutgers-Camden out-hit Hampden-Sydney, 16-13, in the game and drew five walks to the Tigers’ four, but the Raptors also hit into four double plays and made two costly errors, contributing to five unearned runs. Four of those unearned runs came in Hampden-Sydney’s five-run first inning off Raptor sophomore Damien Wright (Millville, NJ/Millville), who worked the first four innings, allowing just one earned run out of his five runs.
The Tigers’ five-run first overcame an early 2-0 lead by Rutgers-Camden, which was built on an RBI single from senior left fielder Mike Morris (Sewell, NJ/Washington Township) and a run-scoring double by senior third baseman Mark Wickersham (Cinnaminson, NJ/Cinnaminson).
Rutgers-Camden added a run in the second when Midili doubled, advanced on a single by senior catcher Tom Terrill (Sewell, NJ/Washington Township) and scored on a double play ball.
The Raptors grabbed the lead with a three-run fifth, highlighted by a two-run double from Wickersham. Morris singled home a run in the sixth and Terrill drilled a two-run homer in the top of the seventh, giving Rutgers-Camden its 9-5 lead before the Tigers exploded.
Wickersham, Terrill and Buchter each collected three hits for Rutgers-Camden. Wickersham added four RBIs. Morris, Park and senior first baseman Butch Amato (Haddon Heights, NJ/Paul VI) had two hits apiece. Park, in the leadoff spot, also reached base twice as a hit batsman and once on a walk.
For Hampden-Sydney, sophomore first baseman Brian Nichols went 3-for-4, while junior catcher David Toney went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
ATLANTIC VS. EAST CHALLENGE
Fri. 2 vs. Frostburg State University (Frostburg, MD) 9 a.m.
2007 NFCA DIVISION III LEADOFF CLASSIC
Fri. 9 vs. Mt. Union College (Alliance, OH) 2:30 p.m.
The Lady Raptors begin defense of their 2006 NCAA Division III softball title when they face Frostburg State University Friday at 9 a.m. in their season opener at the Atlantic vs. East Challenge in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Rutgers-Camden, ranked No. 2 in the pre-season National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 poll, will battle preseason No. 17 Methodist University in its second game Friday at 1 p.m.