Today: May 29, 2024

Owls take 4th

PAT LONGOBARDISports Writer

Southern’s men’s indoor track and field team entered the month of February in a pretty decent position heading into the championship month and final portion of the schedule.

The No. 12-ranked team in the country in Division II recently took a minor step back with a fourth place finish at the Metropolitan Championships at Manhattan College, dropping two spots from the previous week. The Owls finished behind Rutgers, Manhattan and Fordham, respectively.

“I think it was one of the hardest to deal with,” SCSU track and field head coach John Wallin said. “We had a lot of things not go well. I think they are starting to feel the fatigue of hard work and studying. Josh [Perry] was fantastic in the mile and Enis [Bukalo] had a seasonal best.”

At the championships, the Owls won four events. Sophomore Nick Lebron finished first in the hepathlon with a score of 2,864. Selasi Lumax came in first in the 800 meters and the second team for SCSU in the 4X400 relay (Fred Boateng, Stenson Jean-Baptiste, Twayne Forth and Thomas Phommalinh) also came in first.

Perry, a senior, finished first in the one mile run with a time of 4:07.31, breaking one of the longest standing records for the Owls, previously held by Chris Chisholm since 1984. Perry currently stands alone as the top mile runner in Division II.

Perry was selected as Men’s Track Co-Athlete of the Week by the Northeast-10 Conference for his performance.

Perry said breaking the record felt good and helped him gain more confidence going forward.

“It means a lot [to break was one of my main goals. I definitely achieved my best year. Once it started, I never thought I would lose. I led from start to finish. I was relaxed and it felt really, really good. I want to win a mile in the national championship. I do believe I am the best in the country.”

Southern has done well in different parts of the season and is well represented in individual rankings with many athletes in the running for NCAA provisional marks leading up to nationals.

The Owls are also third ranked among the Northeast-10 schools out of four next to UMass-Lowell (6th), American International (10th) and Stonehill (25th).

The Owls will next compete in a tri-meet with Manhattan and Fordham on Feb. 8, and then the Valentine’s Invitational in Boston, Mass. on Feb. 10.

Many of the Owls said they felt the team as a whole did not perform as well as they could have.

“We could have definitely won. We won last year handily. I think we were not mentally prepared. We want to win the NE-10s and not stop the streak.”

Jean-Baptiste, one of three captains this season, said the whole team is working hard and is ready for the competition. Jean-Baptiste is also part of both 4X400 teams, which are ranked in the top 10 for a shot at nationals.

“I think we did pretty well [at the Metropolitan Championships],” he said. “This was kind of to see where we’re at, competition-wise. It was a good start into the championship season. We want to see more results and to run faster. We [the 4X400 teams] are on the list for nationals and we’re capable of running faster.”

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