Following an impressive indoor season which culminated in sweeping the Big East Championships, the curtains came down on UConn track and field’s season over the weekend with wins at the ICAAAA/ECAC Indoors in Boston. Highlighted by three school records, the Huskies swept the team titles at the two-day event.
Junior Wellington Ventura clipped another school record, this time in the 500-meter. The Cresskill, NJ native convincingly won his prelim in 1:01.25, breaking Robert Rhodes’s 28-year-old 1:02.02 record. In the final, Ventura was charged with a break line violation and subsequently faced disqualification. Team captain Eric Van Der Els also produced a record-breaking performance in the men’s 1000-meter, which saw him erasing Joel Legare’s 16-year-old 2:22.58 record. Van Der Els stopped the clock in his prelim at 2:21.76 before clipping his new record in the final, where he won in 22.21.39. Freshman Terrel Williams concluded his indoor season with yet another win in the 60-meter hurdles, clocking 7.82 seconds to win the final. Junior Noah Woodman finished second in the 400-meter, clocking 47.34.
In the field, junior Travis Snyder highlighted men’s competition for UConn as he cleared 5.40 meters on his second attempt in the pole vault to better the previous 5.36 meters school record held by Craig Hunter. In the weight throw, senior Chris Keegan took the top spot, earning a new 19.37 meters career best.
The shot put saw senior Matthew Brady taking the runner-up spot with a best throw of 16.58 meters. Sophomore Richard Kwaateng finished third in the long jump with 7.33 meters, with teammate Jordan Torney taking fifth with 7.06 meters. The men claimed the team title with 112.5 points, ahead of Northeastern (73) and Mount Mary’s (38.5). Saint Francis and Rider completed the top five with 38 and 29 points respectively.
Women’s competition was led by the Huskies in the field, as captains Mikyla Rodgers and Emma Chee won their respective events. Rodgers took gold in the weight throw with a 19.53 meters on her second attempt. Teammate Natalia Surdej took fourth with 18.17 meters as her best attempt. In the pole vault, Chee cleared 4.00 meters on her first attempt to take the win, but fouled out on her attempts at 4.15 meters. Junior Patricia Mroczkowski took first place with a 1.75 meters clearance on her first attempt. The pentathlon saw junior Emily Lavarnway finishing second with 3,972 points, setting new PRs in three events. Lavarnway registered a new 8.87 seconds PR in the 60 meter hurdles, and another career-best 2:17.69 performance in the 800-meter. Competition in the shot put earned Lavarnway another career best, with an 11.97 meter-mark.
On the track, the team captain was the best finisher among the Huskies, after taking the runner-up spot in the 3000-meter, with a 9:23.77 clocking. Junior Randi Burr finished ninth, crossing the line in 9:39.41. The mile saw UConn taking fourth and fifth, with junior Celia Chacko clocking 4:49.67, while senior Emma Krebbs clocked 4:50.04.
The women claimed the team title with 93 points, ahead of Northeastern (62) and Elon (49). Towson and Quinnipiac rounded out the top five with 45 and 37 points respectively.
The Huskies return to competition in two weeks, opening their outdoor season at the Black and Gold Invitational at the University of Central Florida on March 19.