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FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Saturday, May 11, 2019
After three days of competition at the NJCAA Division III National Track & Field Championships, the men's track and field team finished fifth with 60 points and the women's track and field team closed out the championships in a four-way tie for sixth place with 34 points.
The opening day was jump started by the crowning of Elijah Washington in the hammer throw and Mercedes Planavsky in the 3000m Steeplechase as National Champions. Elijah waited until the very last throw of competition to beat out the 2018 event champion, thus denying RC-Gloucester of New Jersey to claim its 5th consecutive win in the event at the National Championships. His throw of 49.38m is also a new school record. Elijah's only loss in the hammer throw came in week one at Wesleyan College (CT).
Planavsky extinguished any hopes for opponents by the first water barrier 500-meters into the race as she cleared the water with ease while the other woman faltered in clearing the water. The only time Mercedes had an opponent running close to her was when she was lapping her opponents. Mercedes crossed the finish line nearly 40 seconds ahead of the second place competitor. Her final time was 12:22.70.
Jasmine Minick-Seldon was the first to compete in the finals on day one. Jasmine competed in the hammer throw and finished in sixth place. She waited till her last throw in the finals to extend her school record to 27.71m. Chris Mannolini-Adams set a new personal best in the triple jump with a leap of 13.23m, good enough for a fifth place finish in the event.
The second day started off with a lot of rain in the morning, and then ended in the bitter cold around 8 p.m. Holden Maynard and Planavsky took to the track early to race in the 10K (6.2miles) race. Holden finished seventh with a time of 36:00.22 and Mercedes took home All-American honors with her second place finish with a time of 42:52.27.
In order to reach Saturday's finals, Daniel Foley and Devin Kipp had get past the preliminary rounds on Friday. Kipp, almost immediately after placing third in the men's discus, ran back to the track area to compete in the 100m semi-finals. Devin made it into the finals by running a new personal best of 10.99. Foley followed up Devin's performance with a new best of his own in the 400mH. Dan shot out of the blocks like a man on a mission. He finished second in his heat to qualify for the finals with a new personal best time. With daylight quickly disappearing, Kipp ran a new best in the 200m (22.33) and qualified for Saturday's final.
Alexis Holmes made the most of her opportunity at the Nationals Meet in the discus throw. She finished in eighth place with a new best of 28.20m. John Acker started his events in the decathlon on Thursday and finished his events on Friday. His efforts on his final two events (javelin & 1500m) helped catapult him into an overall finish of third place.
Washington started off the scoring for the men as he took home a fourth place finish in the shot put with a toss of 13.01m. The team of Mark Blahut, Kipp, Jericho Sylla, and Rutchlor Louis took home a sixth-place finish in the 400mRelay with a time of 44.65. The relay was one of the four races on the day for Kipp. Devin also competed in the 100m where he finished seventh with a time of 11.34. He also competed in the 200m semi-finals before running in the 200m finals where he finished in sixth with a time of 23.25.
Foley, who qualified on Friday for the 400mH finals, went on to finish his final season at Hudson Valley with a new personal best (58.63) and a fifth place finish. Jared Craw was the last scorer on the day for the men as he competed in the 5000m (3.1miles). Jared went onto to run a new season best with a time of 16:07.52, narrowly missing out on second place by .04seconds.
Planavsky tried to make it a trifecta as she had scored in every event she competed in during the National Championships and she hit her mark. She finished in second-place in the 1500m run with a time of 5:12.26. Mercedes went on to join teammates Anna Clarke, Hannah White, and Ashley Martinezfor the 1600mRelay and the group set a new school record for the third time this year en route to a fifth-place finish.
The Vikings men's and women's track and field programs, in the second year back as an organized program, took a giant step forward this season. Both teams finished in a higher position than the year prior, and with more team points. The women finished in third place at the regional championships two weeks prior, but as the final results were announced the women had scored more points than any other Region III School at the National Championships.