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Track & Field/Cross Country Announces 46 New Additions For 2014-2015

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Track & Field/Cross Country Announces 46 New Additions For 2014-2015

ALBANY, N.Y. – The University at Albany track & field and cross country program has announced an incoming recruiting class of 46 athletes for the 2014-2015 seasons.  Twenty-six men and 20 women will join the top squad in the America East, including 11 transfer students and seven Capital Region natives.  The new recruits will join a squad that features the defending men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field conference champions.

“This is our deepest class ever,” said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Roberto Vives.  “We have a mix of state champions, All-Americans, and high-quality transfer students.  It really is a great group all across, particularly in areas we have needs.”

Sprinters accounted for the largest group of incoming recruits, with nine men and 11 women falling entirely or partly in the sprinting category.  The men will look to fill gaps in both the short and the long sprints, due to the graduation of Kareem Morris, last year’s best 100 and 200 runner, as well as Jonathan Santana, last year’s best 400 runner.  Despite these departures, the men’s squad retains depth at all three sprint distances, and the depth will presumably be further bolstered with this year’s additions.  University of North Texas transfer Anthony Hamilton arrives with a personal best in the 400 of 47.08, which would already place him second all-time in UAlbany history.  Villanova transfer Ayo Obadare comes in with a 400 mark of 48.03.  Westchester Community College transfer Momodou Jobe arrives with marks of 22.15 in the 200, 49.29 in the 400, and 1:06.27 in the 500.  Long Island University transfer Cherron Royal has run 22.02 in the 200, and Iona transfer Carlton Fielding enters with marks of 10.88 in the 100, 22.63 in the 200, and 6.63 in the 60.  Incoming freshman include Sobaan Ayub (Morrisonville, N.Y.), with a 51.14 mark in the 400, Khari Harris (Montgomery, N.Y.), with marks of 22.56 in the 200 and 49.91 in the 400, and Patrick Quigley (Wantagh, N.Y.), with marks of 6.57 in the 11.14 in the 100, and 22.74 in the 200.  Additionally, local product Devon Willis (Schenectady, N.Y.) will join the team as the men’s sole hurdling recruit, with marks of 14.54 in the 110 hurdles and 7.67 in the 55 hurdles.

Willis, in addition to running the hurdles, will also contribute to the jumps.  He has recorded marks of 6’-6” in the high jump and 48’-10.25” in the triple jump, an event in which he was the 2012 indoor national champion.  Willis will find himself jumping alongside Hartford transfer Jordan Crump-King, who has recorded a triple jump mark of 46’-4.25”, Lake Erie College transfer Colonel Fakarode, who has triple jumped 46’-8”, and Monroe College transfer David Henry Jr., who has a long jump mark of 21’-10” and a triple jump mark of 48’-8.75”.  Incoming freshman include Mande Semon (Ithaca, N.Y.), who has recorded marks of 22’-2.25” in the long jump and 45’-7.25” in the triple jump, and Najee Taylor, who has recorded a mark of 6’-4” in the high jump, as well as a total of 3,225 in the pentathlon.  Finally, Manhattan College transfer Justin Farrenkopf will lend his talents to the UAlbany squad in the pole vault, entering with a mark of 15’-9” in the event.

The women’s sprint squad lost top 100 and 200 runner Jillian Haynes to graduation, but retained top 400 runner Kamliah Williams.  Joining Williams is Universidad del Sagrado Corazon (Puerto Rico) transfer and Puerto Rico national champion in the 400 Grace Claxton, who has recorded marks of 11.82 in the 100, 24.08 in the 200, and 53.10 in the 400.  Each mark would place her fourth, third, and first in UAlbany history.  Binghamton transfer and graduate student Alexandra Baum arrives as the 2014 America East outdoor 400 champion with marks of 7.96 in the 60 and 25.28 in the 200.  Incoming freshman include Taahira Butterfield (Devonshire, Bermuda), who has marks of 12.06 in the 100 and 24.42 in the 200, Bryhanna Dunbar (Mount Vernon, N.Y.), with marks of 26.06 in the 200 and 1:00.01 in the 400, Jasmine Howard (Binghamton, N.Y.), who has  run 7.42 in the 55, Stephanie Osuji (Rosedale, N.Y.), who has run 25.92 in the 200, Chanel Smith (Piscataway, N.J.), who has marks of 11.91 in the 100, 24.93 in the 200, and 7.24 in the 55, Halie Snyder (Mineville, N.Y.), who is the 2014 New York State outdoor Division II 400 champion, has marks of 24.94 in the 200, 54.96 in the 400, 7.24 in the 55, and 7.91 in the 60, and Akua Williams (Middletown, N.Y.), who has a mark of 65.86 for the 400 hurdles.  Joining the hurdle squad is Nichole Anderson (East Northport, N.Y.), with marks of 8.64 for 55 hurdles and 15.15 for 100 hurdles, as well as Niamani Morrison (Arvene, N.Y.), with marks of 8.22 for the 55 hurdles, 8.91 for the 60 hurdles, and 14.82 for the 100 hurdles.  And Long Island University transfer Shanice Grant lends her talents in part to the sprint events, with marks of 7.78 in the 60, 24.20 in the 200, and 11.85 in the 100.  Additionally, Grant runs hurdles, with marks of 8.60 in the 60 hurdles, and 14.06 in the 100 hurdles.

Baum, like Willis, also competes in jumping events, with marks of 40’-10.5” in the triple jump and 18’-4.5” in the long jump.  Grant also jumps, with a mark of 5’-7.75 in the high jump.  Morrison competes in the long jump, where she has recorded a mark of 18’-9.25”, and in the triple jump, where she has jumped 37’-3.5”.  Finally, Kadeija Brown (New York, N.Y.) joins the team with a mark of 18’-1” in the long jump.

The men’s squad retained much of its mid-distance and distance talent from last season, with the top athletes from 800 through 10,000 meters returning for 2014-15.  Morgan State transfer Harold Lamour arrives with a mark of 1:55.45 in the 800, as well as a 50.76 for the 400.  Iona transfer Justin Middleton has recorded times of 9:34.66 in the 3,200 and 9:44.10 in the steeplechase.  Incoming freshman include Alexander Christensen (Liverpool, N.Y.), with times of 1:54.69 in the 800, 2:33.10 in the 1,000, 4:25.60 in the mile, and a cross country 5K time of 15:53.60, Jordan Healy (Castleton, N.Y.) with a cross country 5K of 15:48.54, Simon Nwana (Syosset, N.Y.) with an 800 time of 1:52.40, and a 1,000 time of 2:30.36, and Tyler Ranke (Rochester, N.Y.), with times of 9:11.24 in the steeplechase and 15:42 for cross country.  Ranke is the 2014 New York State champion and national runner-up in the 3K and 2K steeplechase, respectively.  Additionally, the mid-distance and distance squads add two local athletes, in Bethlehem’s Zachary Flagler, with a 1:58.98 in the 800, and East Greenbush’s Kyle Gronostaj, who has a two-mile time of 9:22.13 and a cross country 5K time of 15:37.50.

The women’s mid-distance and distance events took a bigger hit than their men’s counterparts, losing Kathryn Fanning, Brianne Bellon, and Silvia Del Fava to graduation (though Del Fava has one season of cross country eligibility remaining).  Fanning was the top performer in the 800 and 1,500, and Del Fava was the top performer in the 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000.  Bellon was second in the 800 and Del Fava was second in the 1,500.  Four incoming freshman will look to help fill the void.  Chinira Lovick (Baldwin, N.Y.) has run 4:54.30 in the 1,500.  Margaret Malone (Fayetteville, N.Y.) has run 10:41.57 in the 3,000, 7:29.51 in the 2K steeplechase, and 19:32.3 for cross country.  Two local athletes also join the team.  Jacquelin Malecki (Loudonville, N.Y.) has recorded times of 4:47.99 in the 1,500 and 2:19.36 in the 800.  And Colleen Maloney (Rensselaer, N.Y.) has recorded times of 4:54.44 in the 1,500 and 7:11.08 in the 2K steeplechase.

“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to recruit distance,” said Vives.  “To counteract that, we have, in the past, done a good job developing our distance athletes.  Kathryn Fanning, for example, was a development athlete that we cultivated for four years.  Hopefully we can continue to repeat that model and grow our distance program from within.”

UAlbany welcomes three new throwers each to the men’s and women’s teams.  On the men’s side, Bamadele Akinniyi (Webster, N.Y.) comes in with a shot put mark of 57’-2.75” in high school.  Akinniyi, the Section V champion, was ranked ninth in New York State last year.  Joining Akinniyi are fellow throwers Naja Hart (Tonawanda, N.Y.) and Cody Quantock (Plattsburg, N.Y.).  Hart has a shot put best of 46’-6”, and Quantock has a discus best of 141’-1”.

The women’s trio of throwers will join a squad that includes the Veleisha Walker and Samantha Kosa, the best javelin thrower and shot putter in UAlbany history.  Rider University transfer Chinew Igwe comes in with marks of 40’-4.25” in the shot put, 128’-10” in the discus, 147’-11” in the hammer, and 50’-8.75” in the weight throw.  Igwe placed fourth in the shot put and seventh in the weight throw at MAAC Championships in 2014.  Local resident Zoe Doolittle (Glens Falls, N.Y.) arrives at UAlbany as the reigning Section II champion in the shot put, and the 2013 Section II champion in the discus.  She placed second in the shot put at New York State Championships, as well as third in the discus.  Her best marks include 40’-11” in the shot put, 120’-3” in the discus, and 103’-6” in the javelin.  Kylie Siemanowicz (Toms River, N.J.) rounds out the throwers, with marks of 42’ in the shot put and 128’ in the discus.

“I think this is the biggest class we’ve ever had,” said Vives.  “We’ve lost good athletes to graduation, which is always hard, but we’ve brought in some good ones as well.  Hopefully we can go deeper into championship season this year.”

2014-2015 University at Albany Women’s Track & Field

Name Event Hometown (High School/Previous College)
Nichole Anderson Hurdles East Northport, N.Y. (St. Anthony’s)
Alexandra Baum Jumps/Sprints North Woodmere, N.Y. (Lawrence/Binghamton University)
Kadeija Brown Jumps New York, N.Y. (Harry S. Truman)
Taahira Butterfield Sprints Devonshire, Bermuda (CedarBridge Academy)
Grace Claxton Sprints San Juan, Puerto Rico (Rafael Cordero Molina/Universidad del Sagrado Corazon)
Zoe Doolittle Throws Glens Falls, N.Y. (Glens Falls)
Bryhanna Dunbar Sprints Mount Vernon, N.Y. (Ursuline)
Shanice Grant Hurdles/Sprints/Jumps Kingston, Jamaica (Wolmers Girl’s/Long Island University)
Jasmine Howard Sprints Binghamton, N.Y. (Binghamton) 
Chinwe Igwe Throws West Orange, N.Y. (West Orange/Rider University) 
Chinira Lovick   Mid-Distance Baldwin, N.Y. (Baldwin)
Jacquelin Malecki  Mid-Distance/Distance Loudonville, N.Y. (Colonie)
Margaret Malone Distance Fayetteville, N.Y. (Fayetteville-Manlius)
Colleen Maloney Distance Rensselaer, N.Y. (Columbia)
Niamani Morrison Jumps/Hurdles Arvene, N.Y. (Archbishop Molloy)
Stephanie Osuji Sprints Rosedale, N.Y. (The Mary Louis Academy)
Kylie Siemanowicz Throws Toms River, N.J. (Manchester Township)
Chanel Smith Sprints Piscataway, N.J. (Piscataway)
Halie Snyder Sprints Mineville, N.Y. (Port Henry)
Akua Williams Sprints Middletown, N.Y. (Middletown)

2014-2015 University at Albany Men’s Track & Field

Name Event Hometown (High School/Previous College
Bamadele Akinniyi Throws Webster, N.Y. (Webster Schroeder)
Sobban Ayub Sprints Morrisonville, N.Y. (Saranac Central)
Alexander Christiensen Mid-Distance Liverpool, N.Y. (Liverpool)
Jordan Crump-King Triple Jump Menands, N.Y. (Shaker/University of Hartford) 
Colonel Fakarode Jumps Staten Island, N.Y. (Susan E. Wagner/Lake Erie College) 
Justin Farrenkopf Pole Vault Ellenville, N.Y. (Ellenville/Manhattan College)
Carlton Fielding Sprints Elmont, N.Y. (St. Mary’s/Iona College) 
Zachary Flagler Mid-Distance Bethlehem, N.Y. (Bethlehem)
Kyle Gronostaj Distance East Greenbush, N.Y. (Columbia)
Anthony Hamilton Sprints Colorodo Springs, Colo. (Mitchell/University of North Texas)
Khari Harris Sprints Montgomery, N.Y. (Valley Central)
Naja Hart Throws Tonawanda, N.Y. (Sweet Home)
Jordan Healy Distance Castleton, N.Y. (Maple Hill)
David Henry Jr. Jumps/Sprints Long Beach, N.Y. (Long Beach/Monroe College)
Momodou Jobe Sprints Yonkers, N.Y. (Roosevelt/Westchester CC)
Harold Lamour Mid-Distance Philadelphia, Pa. (Engineerine & Science/Morgan State University)
Justin Middleton Distance Auburn, N.Y. (Auburn/Iona College)
Simon Nwana Mid-Distance Syosset, N.Y. (Syosset)
Ayo Obadare Sprints Elmont, N.Y. (Elmont/Villanova)
Cody Quantock Throws Plattsburgh, N.Y. (Seton Catholic)
Patrick Quigley Sprints Wantagh, N.Y. (Wantagh)
Tyler Ranke Distance Rochester, N.Y. (Hilton Central)
Cherron Royal Sprints Elmont, N.Y. (Elmont/Long Island University)
Mande Semon Jumps Ithaca, N.Y. (Ithaca)
Najee Taylor High Jump New City, N.Y. (Clarkstown South)
Devon Willis Hurdles/Jumps Schenectady, N.Y. (Schalmont)

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