Blackbirds prepare for outdoor meet

Let’s make it two for two during the 2014 track and field team at Long Island University-Brooklyn. First the Blackbirds from downtown Brooklyn captured the indoor title of the Northeast College Conference during the winter and are now during the spring continuing their success and goal of taking the league’s outdoor title come this May.

They want to make it two for two on the men’s side. Head Coach Simon Hodnett and his staff consisting of assistant coaches Leroy Solomon and Michael Robinson, head women’s assistant track coach Janine Davis, and graduate assistant coach Robert Barnes turned in a tremendous job with their student athletes by capturing the indoor men’s meet and by finishing runner-up with the women’s team.

Now their job is to repeat with the men’s outdoor team title, and if they do so, it will also mark the first ever for the men’s in the school’s conference history. They also want to take their females up another step.

The competitors certainly feel that they could accomplish both.

Led by double winners Brendan Rodney in the 60-meter dash (with a time of 6.881) and 200 meters (21.48), long jumper Adam Walker-Khan (6.95 meters) and triple jump (14.96), the Blackbirds scored 125 points in a field of 10 colleges for the men. The females scored 102 points, good for second place, in a field of nine colleges. The men accomplished the feat of winning the team title with hard work and practice without an indoor track and field facility on campus.

Now they are even more hungrier for an outdoor team to do the same.

Going into the meet, the men’s team felt very confident that they could win the whole thing, according to their coaches and competitors.

In preparation for the outdoor championship, the coaches entered the team into the Larry Ellis Invitational Track and Field meet at Princeton University last Friday and Saturday. The directors and Invitational committee had close to 100 college teams and clubs combined to compete on its ground.

If the Blackbirds capture the NEC Outdoor Meet it would mark their first ever such league crown in their history. And Brendon Rodney is capable of breaking the college record of 20.78 which he set in Boston earlier this year.

Highlighting action for the Blackbirds in the Princeton Meet, was Elijah Taylor who turned with a 4:07.95 time for 12th place in Section 3 of the 1500 meters thus becoming the first Blackbird to finish in this event and Adam Walker-Khan who cleared 21-9 in the long jump for 11th place and wound up overall eighth in the 400 meter hurdles. Teammate Rodney finished second overall in the 200-meter dash in 21.52.

On the field, Kemar Lewis a native of Kingston, Jamaica finished fifth with a leap of 6-8 ¼ in the high jump and Amir Armstrong who won the triple jump with a leap of 48-10 ¼.

On the distaff side, Katrina Anderson’s 4:41.13 earned her top finisher for LIU in Section 2 of the women’s 1500, and overall finished seventh in her event.

“I’m not complaining but overall I’m happy with the time,” said Taylor.

Coming off winning the indoor championships the competitors feel that they can do very well in the upcoming conference meet. They are all capable of doing it. Everybody has to bring their ‘A’ game to the meet, and if they minimize their mistakes, they will just be fine.

“We are very excited about going to the meet,” said Alistar McLean, who was timed in 48.74, which earned him second place in the second section. “We’ll try to stay focused.”

“It felt good to win my section of the 100, and finish second overall and we look ahead to the league meet,” added sprinter Eric Williams,” who was timed in 10.84. “We had good competition.”

The Blackbirds went two-five and 10 in the 100, an event that they are deep in.

Meanwhile, former LIU outstanding runner Andre Marcano, a member of the Central Park Track Club, helped to lead the 4 x 100-meter relay team in 40.87 for first place.

Larry Ellis was a long time coach at Princeton University and later served as president of USA Track and Field.

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