Men's track takes home ninth Big East title
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 22:02
The UConn men’s track and field team captured its ninth indoor Big East Championship title this weekend with a dominating team performance. The Huskies were clearly the best team of the day, en route to 20 top five finishes and 142 total points. Notre Dame finished second with 105.5 points.
Head coach Gregory Roy attributed the team win to the leadership his more experienced athletes have shown.
“This year’s group of kids is special; we have 17 guys who are fourth or fifth-year athletes. They are recognized by our staff as our ‘leadership team,’” Roy said. “They lead in many ways, from teaching the freshmen how to be part of the program to gutting it out for an extra point in a competition. They have done a great job this year and this weekend was the result.”
Part of this “leadership team” is senior Tim Bennatan who ran the second leg of the 4x800 meter relay team that took first place at the championships and broke the track record, finishing at 7:32.60.
“I told our freshman anchor, [Alvaro] Chavez, before the race that he’d walk back to UConn if he lost the race. He ran like a champion.”
Bennatan said. Running with Bennatan and Chavez on the title winning relay team were freshman Alex Levine, as well as Tim’s identical twin brother, Alex Bennatan.
“It is very special winning alongside my brother,” Tim said. “We always compete against one another. It’s nice to be able to share a victory as prestigious as a Big East Championship.”
The Huskies only individual title at the meet came from Darnell Cummings, who ran a personal best time of 6.76 seconds in the 60 meter dash.
“I knew having the fastest time going into the [60 meter] finals that people were going to look for me,” Cummings said. “I wanted to make sure I just focused on my race, and to stay calm and relaxed throughout it, and I accomplished that.”
Cummings also took second place in the 200 meter dash with another personal best time of 21.19 seconds.
The Bennatan brothers were not the only pair of twins to do well for the Huskies. Seniors Jake and Ben Waruch also claimed second and third, respectively, in the heptathlon, which consists of seven different events ranging from the 60 meter dash to the 1,000 meter run to the shot put. Junior Jesse Chapman and freshman Kris Horn also claimed fourth and fifth in the heptathlon, giving the Huskies 23 total points in just one event, more than Marquette (22) or DePaul (15) were able to score in the entire meet.
In the 800 meter run, freshman Robert Rhodes narrowly edged Ahmed Bile of Georgetown by less than one one-hundredth of a second to claim second place. Senior Noel James added another second place finish to the teams total with a 2.12 meter leap in the high jump.
The Huskies claimed two more of their top-five finishes in the 60 meter hurdles. Sophomore Selwyn Maxwell Jr. tied his personal best time of 7.95 seconds, taking fourth place. Junior Claudio DelliCarpini set a new personal best with a time of 8 seconds flat, placing him in fifth place.
In the pole vault, junior Corry Duggan continued his excellent season with a fourth place finish and freshman Tim Murphy joined him in the top five with a vault of 4.8 meters, good for fifth place. Josh Faboyede contributed eight points to the Huskies total, finishing in second place in the weight throw with a toss of 19.29 meters.
“We went into this knowing that it was the last indoor championship that would feature many of these teams, so we wanted to make a statement,” Cummings said.
The Huskies are back in action next weekend at the New England Championships in Boston, Mass.