The Central Connecticut men's track and field team placed third overall at the 2014 NEC Indoor Track and Field Championships on Sunday in Landover, MD. Senior Craig Hunt posted one of four gold-medal winning performances in the final day of competition for CCSU. He finished the 5,000m run in 14:44.57, defending his title in the event.
Once again, CCSU dominated the distance events. Hunt led Central in the 5,000m run but was followed closely by sophomore Matt Walker in fifth (14:51.90), freshman Tyler Raymond in seventh (15:11.62) and junior Andrew Hill (8th, 15:20.12). All four Blue Devils combined for 18 points in the event.
In the mile race, junior Brian Biekert clinched the victory after claiming fourth in yesterday's prelims. The CCSU record-holder crossed the finish line in 4:17.04 in Sunday's finals.
Biekert was followed by junior Patrick Hubbell in fifth (4:20.13) who added four more points for Central. Freshman Derek French also qualified for the finals but finished just one spot shy of scoring position, crossing the line in 4:31.11.
Junior Jamal Fruster sprinted to victory in the 400m dash finals Sunday after placing second in Saturday's prelims. Fruster tied for the win with his IC4A qualifying time of 48.98 seconds. Fruster crossed the line side-by-side with LIU Brooklyn's Alistar McLean as each earned nine team points for their efforts.
WATCH FRUSTER HERE in the closest race in NEC Indoor Championship history!
Also earning points for CCSU in the 400m dash was freshman Zach Andrews who finished seventh with his time of 51.38.
The final gold-medal performance came in the distance medley relay. The Blue Devils crossed the finish line in 10:26.05 for the win.
Junior Jordan Watkins earned third place overall in the 60m hurdle finals. Watkins qualified for IC4A competition with his time of 8.24 seconds while also earning six points for CCSU. Freshman Dan Baum also earned points for Central as he posted a career-best time of 8.49, good for fifth place, in the race.
Biekert struck again in the 800m run on Sunday, finishing fourth overall with his time of 1:55.57. He was followed by freshman Thomas Lupoli in sixth (1:57.30). The pair combined for eight points.
In the 500m dash finals, the two CCSU qualifiers finished sixth and eighth. Junior Ryan Budd, who was the first Blue Devil to cross the line, posted a time of 1:07.32 while sophomore Brian Beckwith crossed in 1:08.07.
Other notable point-earning performances include freshman Garrett Shaw who finished seventh in the triple jump, registering 13.65 meters, and the 4x400 meter relay team. The relay squad placed sixth overall in a time of 3:25.56.
CCSU posted 102 total team points in the competition. This year's champions, the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds, finished with 125 points. Sacred Heart finished just ahead of Central in second with 108.5 points. Following CCSU, Wagner (71.5) and Mount St. Mary's (64.5) rounded out the top five. Saint Francis U (62.5) finished sixth followed by Robert Morris (56), Fairleigh Dickinson (51), Bryant (16) and St. Francis Brooklyn (6).
Several CCSU qualifiers will return to the track for post NEC competition. The first event slated for the Blue Devils is the New England Championships, a two-day competition hosted by Boston University from February 28-March 1.
Brian Biekert stands atop the podium as he receives the gold medal for his one mile performance.