Purple Sweeps RACC Classic, Scannapieco Second At Fast Times

ALBANY, N.Y. – Purple swept Gold for the second consecutive year at the University at Albany indoor track program’s 21st annual RACC Classic Intrasquad and Alumni Scrimmage.  Competing against their fellow teammates, the track & field student-athletes saw their first, unofficial, live action since arriving on campus in August.  Purple scored 150 points overall to Gold’s 110, with the men’s Purple squad defeating men’s Gold 68-57, and women’s Purple defeating women’s Gold 82-53.

The RACC Classic began Friday afternoon in the Bubble with the weight throw and the pole vault.  Florida State transfer Briana Cherry-Bronson set a new facility record in the women’s weight throw, with a winning mark of 57’-11.75”.  Sophomore Jonathan Eustache won the men’s weight throw with a mark of 58’-11.50”.  Buffalo transfer Kaytlin Mack won the women’s pole vault in a facility record mark of 11’-6”.  Nathan Hiett won the men’s pole vault outright this year with a mark of 16’-6”, after sharing victory one year ago with teammateAlfonso Scannapieco.

Competition broke until Monday afternoon, when the remaining events were contested.  Monday’s events kicked off with the high jump in the SEFCU Arena and the Shot put in the Bubble.  Senior captain Rochelle Reid won the women’s high jump, clearing a height of 5’-7”.  Last year, Reid recorded the highest jump ever at UAlbany, indoors or outdoors, at this meet, clearing a height of 5’-8.75”.  Matthew Campbell won the men’s high jump in 6’-10.75”, tying for height with junior captain Alexander Bowen who was jumping for the first time since his schedule for the Panamanian National Team came to a close with the Central American and Caribbean Games on November 27.  Kingsley Ogbonna, who competed in junior national championships in July, placed third in 6’-8.75”.

Janice Johnson won the women’s shot put with a mark of 43’-2.5”.  On the men’s side, first-year alumnus and volunteer coach Abel Gilet took first place with a facility record mark of 50’-2.5”.  Eric Del Vescovo was the top UAlbany student-athlete in the event, throwing 46’-2.75”.  The discus immediately followed the shot put in the Bubble, with Veleisha Walker winning for the women in 139’-8”, and Eustache winning for the men in 147’-3”.

At this time, the distance athletes were conducting a three-mile run outside, followed by a 3,000-meter run on the outdoor track.  Valentina Talevi was the only woman to run three miles, and finished in 17:13.1.  Kyle Gronostaj had the fastest men’s three-mile at 14:50.9.  Senior captain Molly Pezzulo had the fastest women’s 3,000 in 10:18.8, and Youness Benzaid had the fastest men’s 3,000 at 9:02.5.  All times, except for Benzaid’s 3,000, were under the existing facility records for their events, but were not run in the physical facility.

Proceedings inside the SEFCU Arena continued with the long jump.  Aiyanna James won the women’s long jump with a mark of 18’-10.5”.  Mande Semon won the men’s long jump in 22’-9.75”.  The final field event contested was the triple jump.  Solène Bastien won the event for the women with a mark of 39’-5.25”, and Bowen won the men’s event in 47’-11.75”.

The track events began with the 500-meter run.  Grace Claxton, a transfer from Universidad del Sagrado Corazon in Puerto Rico, won the women’s race in a facility record time of 1:15.46.  Jason Tomlinson won the men’s event in 1:06.60, narrowly edging second-place Youssef Benzamia who finished in 1:06.62.

Next on the track were the trials of the 55-meter dash and 55-meter high hurdles, for which the finals were run after the women’s 800-meter run.  Overall, Kahlia Taylor won the women’s dash in 7.24, after running 6.9 (hand-time) in the trials.  Robert Harris III won the men’s dash in 6.53, equaling his time in the trials.  In the women’s hurdles, Michelle Anthony set a facility record with a run of 8.11 in the trials, and then broke the record again in the finals with a time of 8.08.  No men’s hurdles were contested.

During the intermission between the trials and finals of the dash and the hurdles, Dominique Claudio won the women’s 800 in a facility record time of 2:16.9 (hand-time).  The final event of the day was the 300-meter dash.  Claxton won her second event of the day, finishing in 41.17.  On the men’s side, Villanova transfer Ayo Obadare finished first in 36.70.

Elsewhere over the weekend, UAlbany senior Alfonso Scannapieco competed in his final meet as a Great Dane at Lehigh’s Fast Times before Finals.  Scannapieco was looking to break the school record of 5,202 in the heptathlon and possibly hit the USATF Indoor standard of 5,450 points.

Scannapieco’s competition began Friday afternoon with the first four events of the heptathlon.  Scannapieco won the 60-meter dash in 7.13, won the long jump with a mark of 22’-9”, placed third in the shot put with a mark of 37’-4.5”, and won the high jump, clearing a height of 6’-6”.  At the conclusion of the first day of competition, Scannapieco had accumulated 2,988 points.  Scannapieco resumed competition on Saturday morning.  He won the 60-meter hurdles in 8.62, and won the pole vault, clearing a height of 13’-10.5”.  The mark is far below Scannapieco’s best effort, but his back tightened up and he decided not to continue.  He started the 1,000-meter run, the final event of the heptathlon, but was unable to finish.  Despite not recording a score in the final event, Scannapieco’s score from the first six events, 4,502, was enough to place him second overall.

Scannapieco, who graduates at the conclusion of the fall term, is now finished with his career at UAlbany.  The team’s first official meet is the Nittany Lion Challenge at Penn State on Saturday, January 17.



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