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West Long Branch, NJ — The second one should seem much sweeter for Monmouth's Michelle Losey (Piscataway, NJ/Piscataway). The back-to-back Northeast Conference Most Outstanding Track Performer has a team title to celebrate this time along with her second major individual honor in as many outdoor seasons.
With help from Losey's triumphant 200-400 sprint double, the Monmouth women (160.67 points) dethroned Sacred Heart (132) to win the 2009 NEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships presented by Road Runner Sports. Long Island scored 118.50 points to finish third in the 11-team field.
"We had a lot of pressure after winning the indoor title and wanted to win here after losing outdoors last season," Losey said following the post-meet awards presentation on a wet day in West Long Branch. "It's really exciting to win, especially on my home track."
The NEC Most Valuable Performer (MVP) award along with Most Outstanding Field Performer honors went to Wagner senior Alaina Alfano (Hanover Park, NJ/East Hanover) for her extraordinary scoring efforts. The senior Seahawk accounted for 66 percent of her team's point total. Long Island freshman Jessie Gaines (Chesapeake, VA/Western Branch) followed up her MVP indoor performance by claiming the NEC Outdoor Most Outstanding Rookie accolade.
Monmouth's Joe Compagni claimed NEC Coach of the Year honors for a sixth time in his 15-year career while the team title was the Hawks' sixth dating back to 2000.
"We won here in 2007 and we wanted to do that again this weekend," said Compagni. "We needed a lot of great efforts and the team came together to make it happen."
The Hawks had already secured the team title when Losey carried the baton to victory in the 4x400 relay, crossing the line in 3:47.33. The win was one of three that the junior sprinter produced Sunday.
Losey and a classmate Crystal Stein (Stewartstown, PA/Susquehannock) teamed up for a one-two finish in the 400-meter dash. Losey (55.21) and Stein (56.00) both came in under the ECAC qualifying standard while picking up 18 points for Monmouth's team score.
After making it back-to-back 400-meter titles, Losey flew to a second-consecutive 200-meter crown in 24.50s.
Still, the two-time NEC Most Outstanding Track Performer wasn't ready to take all the credit.
"I am extremely thankful to my coaching staff, they do a great job with us all year long," Losey exclaimed.
Scoring 31.25 of Wagner's 47.50 points, Alfano won the long jump, placed second in the triple jump, shared fourth place in the high jump, and was the runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles.
Gaines scored in four individual events (100 hurdles, 100m, long jump, triple jump) as well in addition to her contributions on a meet-record-setting 400-meter relay team.
Gaines and Alfano posted the top two times in yesterday's 100-meter hurdles trials and were the top two finishers in Sunday's final. The Long Island rookie was .06 quicker in taking the title. St. Francis (NY) freshman Dominique Burrus (Queens, NY/Jamaica) took bronze to complete the NEC New York City circuit.
Long Island put up 17 points in triple jump as senior Heather Patton (Bowie, MD/CH Flowers) was once again over the NCAA Regional qualifying standard to claim the crown in front of Wagner's Alfano, who hit an ECAC mark of 12.06m. Gaines took sixth.
Their seed times said they were, as did their trial times, but Mount St. Mary's twin sisters Ashley and Lynnie DeCruise (Rockville, MD/Richard Montgomery) left no doubt that they are the two fastest women the Northeast Conference has to offer. The formerly mentioned DeCruise crossed the line first with her twin sister a step behind. Although the weather conditions may have prevented them from doing so on Sunday, both second-year Mountaineers have posted ECAC qualifying performances on a number of occasions.
Quinnipiac senior Abbey Gosling (Meredith, NH/Inter-Lakes) made it back-to-back championships in the steeple chase. The fourth-year Bobcat built a 25-meter lead by the bell lap and pulled away for a comfortable victory in 11:04.58, nearly 15 seconds under her prior seasonal best.
Sacred Heart junior Brittany Dexter's (Ballston Lake, NY/Burnt Hills) third appearance at the NEC Outdoor Championships resulted in her third title. The three-time conference champion, both indoors and out, cleared 1.64m (5' 4.50") for a wet, windy win.
Two teams smashed a two-year-old 4x100 relay record. Long Island claimed victory as Gaines outlasted Ashley DeCruise in the anchor leg, clocking in at 46.86. The Mount's official time was 46.94, .06 under the old record (47.00). Monmouth, which set the former record in 2007, clocked in at 47.88 to claim third, meaning the top three quartets fought off the unfriendly elements to post ECAC qualifying performances.
Now a three-year veteran of the NEC Outdoor Championships, junior Anna Hoffman (Grove City, PA/Mohawk) has built quite an eclectic distance resume at the annual meet. She won the steeple chase as a freshman and followed with a 5K victory during her sophomore appearance. This year she completed a winning 1500-5K double.
Only one of two freshmen to win titles, Robert Morris rookie Gabriella Rinehart (Norristown, PA/Norristown) won the hammer throw that exceeded 160 feet. She joined two other Colonial champions. Sophomore Samantha Simile (Washington, PA/Chartiers) won the 400-meter hurdles (1:04.03) one day after Erica Schmidt's (Pittsburgh, PA/Baldwin) pole vault triumph.
Sophomore Christin Bridge (Gibsonia, PA/Pine Richland) gave the Red Flash a double-winner in the field, too. A day after winning the discus, Bridge braved poor conditions to put the shot 13.08m (42' 11").
2009 NEC Outdoor Women's Individual Champions
Women's Team Standings (21 Events Scored)
100m: Ashley DeCruise Mount St. Mary's So. 12.14
200m: Michelle Losey Monmouth Jr. 24.50
400m: Michelle Losey Monmouth Jr. 55.21
800m: Selina Munoz Long Island Jr. 2:14.68
1500m: Anna Hoffman Saint Francis (PA) Jr. 4:42.93
5000m: Anna Hoffman Saint Francis (PA) Jr. 17:22.68
10000m: Lindsey Pierret Quinnipiac Jr. 37:39.01
100 Hurdles: Jessie Gaines Long Island Fr. 14.57
400 Hurdles: Samantha Simile Robert Morris So. 1:04.03
3000m Steeple: Abbey Gosling Quinnipiac Sr. 11:04.58
400m Relay: Long Island 46.86
1600m Relay: Monmouth 3:47.33
3200m Relay: Sacred Heart 9:17.82
Long Jump: Alaina Alfano Wagner Sr. 5.81m (19' 0.75")
Triple Jump: Heather Patton Long Island Sr. 12.43 (40' 9.50")
Pole Vault: Erica Schmidt Robert Morris Jr. 3.30m (10' 10")
High Jump: Brittany Dexter Sacred Heart Jr. 1.64 (5' 4.50")
Shot Put: Christin Bridge Saint Francis (PA) So. 13.08m (42' 11")
Discus: Christin Bridge Saint Francis (PA) So. 42.94m (140' 10")
Hammer Throw: Gabriella Rinehart Robert Morris Fr. 49.22m (161' 6")
Javelin: Mary Wilks Monmouth So. 40.96m (134' 4")
1. Monmouth 160.66
2. Sacred Heart 132
3. Long Island 118.50
4. Mount St. Mary's 89
5. Robert Morris 70.33
6. Saint Francis (PA) 68
7. Wagner 47.50
8. Central Conn. St. 42
9. Quinnipiac 38
10. Fairleigh Dickinson 32
11. St. Francis (NY) 21