The four-time reigning Northeast Conference champion Central Connecticut men's outdoor track & field team finished as the 2018 NEC Runner-Up in a title race that came down to the final event at Mount St. Mary's on Sunday afternoon. The Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers made good of its home field advantage and topped CCSU for its first Northeast Conference Championship since 1997 by a mere two points. The Mountaineers out-scored Central 8-2 in the 4x400 meter relay in the meet's finale to win with 172 points.
Central Connecticut placed second with a final score total of 170, SFU was third with 137 points, followed by LIU Brooklyn (132), Wagner (68), Sacred Heart (61), Bryant (42), Fairleigh Dickinson (29) and St. Francis Brooklyn (9).
The Blue Devils took home an impressive 15 medals across the two-day title meet including four gold, four silver and seven bronze. Sophomore Marquis Ward was named the Most Outstanding Field Performer (Jumps) after winning silver in the long jump, third in the high jump and fourth in the triple jump.
In the closest race of day, senior Austin Trainor captured the 3,000 meter steeplechase title in an all-out sprint with Wagner's Jonathan Besselink. Trainor beat out the sophomore Seahawk by a differential of .03 seconds in a time of 9:19.08 (10). Junior Alex Norstrom earned bronze with a time of 9:36.51 (6).
Senior Tyler Latham defended his NEC javelin title with a 62.06 meter (10), personal record throw to win gold. Junior KJ Smith finished earned silver after crushing his old personal record mark of 50.51 meters, with a second place throw of 59.46 meters (8).
Sophomore Kevorni Welsh won a share of the triple jump title with Mount St. Mary's Sean Fahey who both recorded a top mark of 14.21 meters (10).
Sophomore Richard Grudzwick won the 800 meter title with a time of 1:54.74.
The Blue Devils claimed the third and fourth place standings in the 5,000 meter run with Norstrom pacing sophomore Roberto Piotto. Norstrom medaled in bronze with an IC4A qualifying time of 14:43.13. Piotto followed in his footsteps and turned in a time of 14:53.72.
The 110 meter hurdle bronze medal was awarded to junior Quincy Sanchez who clocked in a time of 14.86 seconds (6). Latham finished fourth and turned in a time of 14.99 seconds (5).
Latham won bronze in the 400 meter hurdle final with a time of 54.55 seconds (6). Sophomore Matt Baum placed seventh (2) with a time of 57.03 seconds.
Central went 3-4-5 and scored 15 points in the high jump, carried by a bronze medal performance from Ward who posted a jump of 1.91 meters (6). Welsh placed fourth with a mark of 1.86 meters and senior Sam Borecki also recorded a mark of 1.86 meters and finished fifth after a four-way jump-off. Freshman Christian Heyward tied for ninth with a personal record jump of 1.81 meters.
The men's 4x100 meter relay team placed fifth overall with a time of 42.39 seconds (4). The 4x400 meter relay team placed seventh overall (2) with a time of 3:28.09.
The Central Connecticut track & field team will take its IC4A Championship qualifiers to Princeton, NJ to compete on May 12-13.