Men’s track impresses at invitational
Edward Rudman – Sports Editor
The men’s track and field program came in first place at the Wilton Wright Invitational at Jess Dow Field on Saturday, April 3.
The Owls scored 164 points on the day, just edging out Division I University of Connecticut by four points, who finished in second. University of New Haven finished third with 99 points and University of Hartford, another Division I school, finished fourth with 80 points.
“We’re not in as bad a shape as I thought we were in,” said Head Coach John Wallin. “We missed eight months of training and I think as a staff we were pretty concerned that we weren’t going to be fit and that we could could get them meet ready in a small amount of time, by doing that you really risk injury but we’ve been able to stay healthy so far. We’re not in as bad of shape as I thought we were in which is a pleasant surprise but now we have to figure out how to keep moving forward and get better than we are.”
Terrell Patterson, a senior, finished first place in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:47.14. This was his first time competing in a meet in almost two years, the last time doing so on May 11, 2019.
“It was good to just get back to racing. I had a longer hiatus than most people because I was out with injury prior to the COVID shutdown,” said Patterson. “It was definitely good to comeback and comeback with a team win and an individual win and hopefully get things moving forward through the outdoor season and into championships.”
Other individual wins on the day for track include Nigel Green, a senior, in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.74, Osaretin Osagie, a freshman, in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 56.31 and the Owls won the 4×100 meter relay with a time of 42.34.
The relay team consisted of Jaylynn Cundiff, Milan Spisek, Naszier Torrence-Robinson and Green.
“It was really exciting, I was kind of nervous,” said Cundiff. “I was nervous because I didn’t really know where I was going to be at for this season and I wanted to get back to exactly where I started last year, or where I left off, and I accomplished that but I was nervous to see where I’d come off after not competing for a year.”
Cundiff also participated in the long jump, where he took first place with a new personal best of 7.22 meters. It’s the tenth longest jump in program history, according to Southern’s athletic website.
The individual wins in field events did not stop there, as Mekhi Barnett finished first in the discus throw with a throw of 46.04 and Jack Brown finished first in the pole vault, clearing 4.85 meters.
Cameron Belton, a freshman, finished second in the shot put, putting up a personal best throw of 16.05 meters. For his performance, Belton received Northeast 10 Men’s Field Rookie of the Week honors.
“I didn’t even know that that was a thing to be honest. When I saw it, I said, ‘really?’, because I didn’t really feel like it was my best, I know there’s a lot more left in the tank,” said Belton.
Looking ahead, the Owls next meet will be on Saturday, April 10 in Storrs, Conn. On UConn’s campus.
Wallin said, “It’s very hard to exceed my expectations so I don’t think they exceeded them but I was pleased because I know how difficult it is to start competition when you’re not completely prepared. I was pleased that they took it as seriously as I do and our staff does.”