Saunders Defends HJ Title at NECs; CCSU Finishes 7th
The Central Connecticut women's track and field team finished seventh overall at the 2014 NEC Indoor Track and Field Championships on Sunday. Junior Ronea Saunders took the gold in the high jump with her height of 1.73 meters, qualifying for ECAC competition and tallying 10 team points for CCSU.
This year marks the second-consecutive season in which Saunders has claimed the gold in the event. The three-time 2014 NEC Field Athlete of the Week has posted impressive performances throughout her junior campaign, landing tied for 26th in NCAA DI with her season-high leap of 1.78m.
In addition to Saunders gold-medal performance, the Blue Devils also claimed the victory in the distance medley relay event. The squad crossed the finish line in 12:23.82, adding another 10 points to CCSU's overall total.
After finishing second in yesterday's one mile prelims with her time of 5:18.82, freshman Brittany Mendelson took the silver on Sunday. The two-time NEC Rookie of the Week crossed the line in 5:02.03 for eight points.
Shelby Tuttle, who broke her CCSU record in the 60m hurdle preliminaries yesterday, surpassed her own record yet again in Sunday's finals. The senior posted a final time of 8.86 seconds for a new Central record and a bronze medal for CCSU. Tuttle was followed in the finals by freshman Melissa Wolliston who finished eighth. The pair combined for seven team points.
In the 400m dash, junior Chantelle Deer finished sixth in the finals after her qualifying performance yesterday. Deer crossed the finish line in 59.77 seconds for three team points.
Other scoring performances for Central on the day include junior Shannon McBride who finished seventh in the 5,000m (18:29.19), sophomore Chelse Terry who placed seventh in the weight throw (14.44m) and sophomore Alyssa Gonzalez who crossed eighth in the 200m dash with her time of 25.98 seconds.
The Blue Devils also finished fourth in the 4x400 meter relay, posting a time of 3:59.23 and earning five team points for Central.
Sacred Heart won the meet, racking up 136 team points. The Pioneers were followed by LIU Brooklyn (102), Robert Morris (95), Saint Francis U (94), Mount St. Mary's (71.5) and Wagner (60.5). Fairleigh Dickinson finished eighth with 21 points while Bryant and St. Francis Brooklyn tied for ninth with 17.
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.