The UConn men’s track and field team fell just short of the American Athletic Conference team title at this weekend’s indoor championship. Opening the final day of men’s competition with a wide lead, defending champion Houston held off the Huskies to win its sixth straight men’s AAC Indoor Track and Field Championship.
UConn’s Eric Van Der Els secured his first men’s mile indoor title in The American as the conference’s top-ranked competitor secured first place with a time of 4:10.11. Sophomore Wellington Ventura also joined the list of American indoor champions, after an impressive win in the men’s 400 meters, crossing the line in 47.22 seconds.
Along with 12 All-AAC performances earned by the men’s team, the third individual title came from freshman David Ajama who won the men’s triple jump.
Covering 15.69 meters on his second attempt, Ajama was also named the AAC’s 2020 Freshman of the Year. Following a competitive triple jump final which saw the Husky bettering the 15.40 and 15.31 meter attempts by second and third place, Ajama expressed gratitude for the honor.
“Winning Freshman of the Year is a huge blessing and I just want to thank God and my coaches for helping me have a successful indoor season,” Ajama said.
Despite finishing at the top of the podium, Ajama had only one goal in mind coming into the championship.
“I knew coming into the meet I had big expectations,” Ajama said. “The main goal was to score points for the team, but in doing so I was able to win gold.”
Finishing with a total of 129 points, their best since 2015, a satisfied head coach Greg Roy said he was pleased with the performances.
“We really showed up and performed tough throughout,” Roy said. “To get three championships on the men’s side is great for the program.”
On the women’s side, the Huskies managed to take home two medals, after senior Danielle Jordan and freshman Patricia Mroczkowski captured bronze medals in their respective disciplines.
Jordan took bronze in the women’s 3,000 meter event in 9:34.62, while compatriot Mroczkowski cleared 1.67 meters, in the women’s high jump, and a personal best, for her maiden podium finish as a Husky.
Despite finishing the two day championships with 43 points and eighth overall, coach Roy commended the women for their performances.
“The women really responded today, really competed well,” Roy said. “We have some great athletes to build the program on.”
The Houston Cougars women also topped the table with 84 points, ahead of Cincinnati and Temple.
Thumbnail photo by Charlotte Lao/The Daily Campus.
Nicholas Martin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.