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WEST LONG BRANCH, New Jersey – The Quinnipiac women's track and field team made history on Sunday as the Bobcats finished the MAAC Championships in 2nd place overall in the two-day conference championship held on the campus of Monmouth University. Quinnipiac's runner-up finish is good enough for the highest finishing spot in a conference championship meet in program history. In addition, the 127 team points accumulated by the Bobcats also represent a new program-best as Quinnipiac's track and field team continues to evolve into a dominant regional program. Monmouth University claimed their second consecutive MAAC Championship as the host Hawks compiled 260.2 points to claim the victory.
"We just had a phenomenal day out there," said Quinnipiac head coach Carolyn Martin. "I couldn't have asked for a better effort from my team. The girls were fired up from the start of the day and they kept the energy going throughout. It was the first time our athletes felt like having that pressure of doing well for the team. It's just exciting to be in a competition where we're in the hunt. We didn't expect to be here, competing against the top teams in the MAAC, when the season started and I'm so incredibly proud of my coaching staff and team for responding the way they did today."
The resounding day for Quinnipiac began in the javelin throw as an incredible total of four Bobcats all placed in the event to give the Bobcats a combined 12 points in the team standings. Jennifer Mears (Vernon, Connecticut) led the way as she came up with 37.84m, her second-best throw in her career, to land her in 3rd place overall (out of 12) which was also good enough for a career-best in a conference championship meet. Cori Reid (Old Saybrook, Connecticut) then stepped up with a personal-best throw of 36.67m to give her 6th place overall. Rounding out the standings were two more personal-best throws first from Jessica Caso (Poughkeepsie, New York) who went for 33.09m to finish 7th while Mackenzie Merkel (Hillsdale, New Jersey) recorded 31.36m to place 8th overall.
Another incredible sign of progress came from the Bobcats' young 4x100m relay group of that outkicked the reigning MAAC Champion Mounmouth for the overall victory in the event. In what was the Bobcats' first ever 4x100m relay fielded at a conference championship in program history, all Quinnipiac did was best the group of Monmouth sprinters who just last year set the MAAC Championship meet record. Quinnipiac's underclassmen-heavy group of four – junior Alea Simons (Piscataway, New Jersey), sophomore Bonnie Pisciotta (Lindenhurst, New York), freshmen Leah Pfrommer (Killingworth, Connecticut) and Jessica Lee (Montgomery, New Jersey) – combined to finish with a new program record time of 47.56 seconds in taking the 1st place result. Quinnipiac outkicked the talented Monmouth sprint group by just 0.12 seconds in the event standings.
Quinnipiac's 2014-15 Female Athlete of the Year Shameal Samuels (Hartford, Connecticut) added to her incredible season with a 1st place finish in the 200m dash on Sunday, taking first place with a time of 24.87 seconds. Samuels cruised to her fifth career MAAC Championship victory and second in the 200m as she bested the 2nd place competitor by a significant margin of 0.64 seconds.
Samuels also pitched in two more times throughout the afternoon as she came up with two 2nd place results. Starting in the 100m dash, Samuels was locked in a head-to-head duel with Monmouth's Domoah Kutu-Akoi as just 0.10 seconds separated to two top sprinters in the MAAC. The Hawks' Kutu-Akoi claimed 1st place but not after being challenged throughout by Samuels who finished in 12.20 seconds to claim her 2nd place result. Simons and Pisciotta also ran in the 100m finals and placed 6th (12.56 seconds) and 8th (12.65), respectively. Quinnipiac had three runners place in the 100m finals which topped all MAAC schools in competition.
Samuels' final appearance of the day came in the 4x400m relay as Quinnipiac claimed 2nd place in the second sprint relay competition of the afternoon. Nia Baker (Brooklyn, New York), Becca Stabile (Haverhill, Massachusetts) and Alyson Caron (Andover, New Jersey) joined Samuels in combining for a new personal-best time of 3:51.45, an improvement of 1.62 seconds on their previous personal-best as a grouping. The 2nd place showing for QU's 4x400m relay is good enough for the best finish at a conference championship in program history.
Baker and junior classmate Kristen Ulrich (Clark, New Jersey) shined in the 400m dash as they both placed in the Top 4 overall (out of 25) in the individual sprint finals. Baker started things off with the best 400m dash of her career as she clocked in at 56.76 seconds, besting her previous personal-best of 57.76 by a full second. Baker's career-best time earned her a 3rd place finish which is also good enough for another personal-best for her at a conference championship meet. Ulrich was right behind Baker, coming in at 4th place overall with a time of 57.71 seconds. The 4th place result for Ulrich also represented another career-best at a conference championship meet.
Stabile, running in her final conference championship meet, went out in style as she came up with a 2nd place finish in her signature 400m hurdles with a time of 1:02.17. The program record-holder in the 400m hurdles came up with a season-best time, breaking her previous best time of 2014-15 by more than one full second.
The success in the distance events that started on Saturday spilled over into Sunday as Quinnipiac dominated the leaderboard at the 5000m as three Bobcats placed – giving Quinnipiac six total student-athletes who placed in the 5000m and 10,000m combined. Niamh Ashe (East Islip, New York) got things going with a time of 17:51.92 to place 5th overall (out of 28). Christina Faust (Macungie, Pennsylvania) showed her versatility as she placed 7th overall in the 5000m with a time of 18:04.55, one day after placing 3rd in the 3000m steeplechase. Kaleigh Roberts (Higganum, Connecticut) rounded out the Bobcats' impressive string of results with an 8th place finish and time of 18:19.66.
Lee continued her string of success in her signature 100m hurdles event as the freshman picked up a 4th place finish in the finals on Sunday with a time of 14.69 seconds. Tracy Campbell (Wall Township, New Jersey) also dominated in her signature event (1500m) as the junior placed at a conference championship for the third straight season in the 1500m with a time of 4:42.83.
One of the final field events on the afternoon ended in another triumph for Quinnipiac as Pisciotta made some history, becoming the first Bobcat to ever place in the triple jump. Pisciotta came through with a jump of 10.74m to place 5th overall (out of 11) and earn five points for the Bobcats in the team standings. Pisciotta was busy throughout as the sophomore earned points in a team-high four different events (triple jump, long jump, 100m, 4x100m) on the weekend.
Quinnipiac hopes to continue its impressive late season push next weekend as the Bobcats head up to Boston for the New England Championships set to take place on May 7-9 on the campus of Boston University.
Contact: Maxx McNall; email@example.com