Men’s Track ‘ Field: Northeastern nabs top-five spots at 63d annual Florida Relays

By Adam Riglian

The weather finally cooperated with the men’s track ‘ field team, which caught some rays at the highly competitive Pepsi Florida Relays in Gainesville.

The soda company-sponsored event featured runners from top universities like South Carolina, Florida and Miami, sponsored teams from Adidas and Nike and hosted international competitors from Canada and Jamaica.

“It was nice to finally be outside,” said head coach Sherman Hart. “The weather was great for us. I was really pleased with the team’s overall performance given the fact that we’ve only practiced outside once.”

Field events again were the strongholds for Northeastern. The Huskies again proved their vaulters and throwers can compete well on a national level.

Freshman Jordan Thull led the charge, taking second place in the pole vault. This was Northeastern’s top finish at the meet, and he was named Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Field Athlete of the Week. Thull nailed the event with a height of 16 feet, 6.75 inches, a tough mark to hit given the differences between vaulting on an indoor surface and an outdoor surface.

“The whole depth perception is an adjustment,” Hart said. “When you’re jumping indoors there’s a ceiling; when you’re outdoors there’s wind and other elements.”

Sophomore Nate Hunter and senior Semiu Alli battled for throwing supremacy, with Hunter taking third in the shot put (56 feet, 4 inches) and 10th in the discus (146 feet, 9 inches), while Alli finished fifth in the shot put (53 feet, 3.5 inches) and third in the discus (161 feet, 6 inches).

“These two go after each other in a friendly way, so it makes it fun,” Hart said. “Big things are going to happen between these two.”

Not to be outdone, the nationally qualified junior Bamidele Faboyede delivered a fifth-place finish in his specialty event, the hammer throw (184 feet, 4 inches).

On the track, senior Conrad Dalton ran his best single-event, 400- meter time of the season, breaking the meet record of 48.6 by 0.03 seconds. However, 15 other runners at the speed-heavy meet broke the record in faster times than he did.

“We’ve been working with Conrad on his style,” Hart said. “We have finally found a style that fits him.”

While the individual 400-meter was not Dalton’s best tactical race, his work in the 4×400 was admirable. Dalton attacked the first 200 meters aggressively, more than in his usual race, to find he had more in the tank at the end than he thought possible. His split of 46.9 in the event makes him one of the men to beat in the quarter-mile at the CAA Championships.

With the conference championship two weeks away, the Huskies will host the Solomon Invitational Saturday, giving their runners and throwers one last chance to improve their seeding for the big meet. The invitational begins at 10 a.m. at the Reggie Lewis Center.

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