West Long Branch, NJ – In a two-day meet that saw several different lead changes, Monmouth won the final event to claim its second women's NEC championship in three years. Saint Francis (PA) earned runner-up honors, tallying 139 points while Long Island came in third with 135 points. Sacred Heart (87.5) and Robert Morris (82) placed fourth and fifth, respectively, followed by Quinnipiac in sixth with 73 points. Wagner (55) finished seventh ahead of Mount St. Mary's (48) in eighth. St. Francis (NY) (30), Fairleigh Dickinson (13) and Central Connecticut State (10.33) make up the remaining team placings.
Monmouth senior Tisifenee Taylor (Woodbury, NJ/Woodbury) (pictured right) was tabbed the women's Most Valuable Performer after placing second in the 100m hurdles (14.77) and winning the 100m dash (12.24). Taylor also excelled on the field, setting a new conference record in the long jump with a bound of 6.28m.
Lisa Morse (Freedom, NY/Pioneer Central) from Saint Francis (PA) was named the Most Outstanding Field Performer. The junior placed fourth in the hammer throw, second in the shot put (13.58m) as well as set a new meet record in the discus with a mark of 48.26m
Sophomore Tavia Burke (St. Catherine, Jamaica/St. Andrews) and junior Aisha Thomas (Jefferson City, MO/Jefferson City) from Long Island were named Co-Outstanding Track Performers for the second season. Previously, the pair earned the honor during the 2007 indoor season. Burke placed second in the 100m (12.35) and 200m (25.63) events and won the 100m hurdles in an ECAC qualifying time of 14.27. Thomas won the 200m (25.26) and the 400m dash in a time of 55.02.
Sacred Heart freshman Brittany Dexter (Ballston Lake, NY/Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) was tabbed the NEC Rookie of the Meet as she placed first in the high jump with an ECAC qualifying mark of 1.70m.
Monmouth head coach Joe Compagni earned Coach of the Year by his peers.
In the first track event, Saint Francis (PA) freshman Anna Hoffman (Enon Valley, PA/Mohawk) took over the lead with three laps remaining in the 3000m steeplechase, outshining reigning champion and record holder Sacred Heart senior Kathleen Duffy (Monroe, CT/Masuk) to take the gold in 11:15.42. Duffy finished in second with a time of 11:24.71 and Mount St. Mary's sophomore Elizabeth Kessler (Mount Laurel, NJ/Paul VI) overcame the 35-obstacle course to finish in third (11:32.83).
Long Island sophomore Heather Patton (Bowie, MD/CH Flowers) took the triple jump title with a leap of 11.55m. Robert Morris senior Brittany Humphress (Beaver, PA/Beaver Falls) came in second at 11.50m and with a bound of 11.48m, Mount St. Mary's senior Angie Jones (Philadelphia, PA/Philadelphia West) finished in third.
Long Island sophomore Shelby Heggie (Laramie, WY/Laramie) finished ahead of teammate Heather Patton (Bowie, MD/CH Flowers) in the high jump to place second, clearing a height of 1.67m. Patton earned the bronze with a mark of 1.64m.
Breaking an eight-year-old record, Monmouth's 4x100m relay consisting of seniors Deanna Paulson (Sewell, NJ/Washington Twp.) and Tisifenee Taylor (Woodbury, NJ/Woodbury), sophomore Illiana Blackshear (West Orange, NJ/West Orange) and freshman Michelle Losey (Piscataway, NJ/Piscataway), eclipsed the mark by .05 seconds, finishing the race first in 47 seconds. Long Island came in second with an ECAC qualifying mark of 47.27 while Saint Francis (PA) also qualified for ECAC's, clocking in at 48.29.
The top three finishers in the 1500m distinguished themselves from the gun start. Saint Francis (PA) senior Erika Jacobs (Toronto, ONT/West Hill Collegiate), who entered the event with the fastest preliminary time, finished first in 4:39.21. Wagner sophomore Brecken Drager (Loomis, CA/Del Oro) made a move around the final bend to pass Quinnipiac junior Caitlin Brady (West Sayville, NY/Sayville) and finish second, stopping the clock at 4:40.53. Brady claimed the bronze in 4:42.73.
The 100m hurdles featured five returning finalists from a year ago. Long Island sophomore Burke won the event in a time of 14.27. Monmouth senior Taylor (came in second at 14.77 while Robert Morris junior Cornia Campbell (Smithsburg, MD/Smithsburg) captured the bronze in 14.92.
The field was all black and blue in the 400, with Monmouth and Long Island splitting the heat, with four runners representing each squad. Long Island junior Thomas prevailed taking the gold in 55.02. Monmouth senior Latasha Dickson (Aberdeen, NJ/Matawan) split the Blackbirds with a second-place finish, crossing the line in 55.18 and was followed by Long Island junior Crystal Strachan (Grand Bahama, Bahamas/Grand Bahama Catholic) at 55.38.
Long Island's one-two punch in Thomas and Burke was in full effect as the duo took the top two positions in the 200m. Saint Francis (PA) junior Kora Hardy (Salisbury, MD/James M. Benett) claimed the bronze with a time of 25.64.
Quinnipiac senor Erin O'Connell (Salem, CT/East Lyme) took a commanding lead after the first lap to finish first (2:15.88) in the 800m ahead of Long Island freshman Aniecia Williams (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands/Ivanna Eudra Kean). Williams clocked in at 2:17.64. Wagner junior Samantha Snukis (St. Clair, PA/Nativity BVM) equaled her preliminary placing, ending up third (2:19.00) to win the bronze medal for the Seahawks.
In the 400m hurdles Monmouth senior Latasha Dickson (Aberdeen, NJ/Matawan) took an astounding lead from the gun to win the event in 1:00.85, ahead of Sacred Heart junior Melissa Kostan (Salem, MA/Salem) who crossed the tape in 1:01.65. Long Island senior Quiana Smith (Brooklyn, NY/Bishop Laughlin) found a place on the podium, finishing third at 1:02.89.
It was again a Bobcat dominated distance field, with senior Jenna Nechamen (Salem, CT/East Lyme) claiming a first-place finish in her last event, the 5000m. Saint Francis (PA) junior Taryn Gibson (Cannonsburg, PA/Cannon McMillan) finished in second ahead of Quinnipiac junior Susan Ashe (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa), who clocked in the 5k at 17:37.50.
Reannah Lewis (Brooklyn, NY/South Shore) earned the Terriers top prize of the day, earning the bronze in the 100m dash (12.49).
Generally the most anticipated events, the 4x400 relay, provided the most dramatic finish of the weekend. As Monmouth and Long Island raced stride-for-stride for 375m, the Long Island anchor dropped the baton on the final home stretch and Monmouth anchor Latasha Dickson sprinted towards the finish line to claim victory for the Hawks. Dickson and teammates Michelle Losey (Piscataway, NJ/Piscataway), Illiana Blackshear (West Orange, NJ/West Orange) and Crystal Stein (Stewartstown, PA/Susquehannak) broke the conference record with a scorching time of 3:46.42.
Women's Event Winners (Day two)
Triple jump: Heather Patton (LIU) 11.55m
Hammer throw: Amanda Klingensmith (SFPA) 47.94m
High jump: Brittany Dexter (SHU) 1.70m
3000m Steeplechase: Anna Hoffman (SFPA) 11:15.42
4x100m relay: Monmouth 47.00*
1500m: Erica Jacobs (SFPA) 4:39.21
100m hurdles: Tavia Burke (LIU) 14.27
400m: Aisha Thomas (LIU) 55.02
100m: Tisifenee Taylor (MU) 12.24
800m: Erin O'Connell (QU) 2:15.88
400m hurdles: Latasha Dickson (MU) 1:00.85
200m: Aisha Thomas (LIU) 25.26
5000m: Jenna Nechamen (QU) 17:24.44
4x400m relay: Monmouth 3:46.42*
*new conference record