BOSTON - The American University track & field team had quite a start to the Patriot League Championships on Saturday, Feb. 18, closing the first full day of competition with a pair of school record performances and a conference title run from the men's 4x800m.
Sophomore Trevor Patton kicked the day off with a third-place finish in the men's long jump, besting his own school record in the event with a final mark of 7.11m (23-4). Patton entered the weekend with a previous record of 6.71m (22-0.25) from last year. He landed just under that mark twice this season, hitting 6.70m (21-11.75) at the Patriot Games (Jan. 28) and Camel City Invitational (Feb. 3) before extending his PR by over a foot with his 7.11m (23-4) finish.
The men's 4x800m closed the day in much the same fashion, crossing in 7:31.30 to not only earn the program's first conference title in eight years, but also surpass the ten-year-old school record held by Alex Caudana, Brian McCabe, Steve Hallinan and Dustin Emrani (7:31.91). Junior Alaeldin Tirba, sophomores Chandler Ross and Matthew Rainey, and junior Liam Purdy led the rest of the conference field by two seconds to become the first AU men to earn a PL indoor title since 2009 when Jeff Brannigan won the 3000m field in 8:15.80.
The AU women also put down a couple of exciting performances, starting with sophomore Grace Goulding who tied her high jump PR with a bar of 1.60m (5-3) to place tenth in the field.
Sophomore Adriana Hooks was the only individual competitor on the track for the Eagles, taking the line in her second career indoor 5000m run. She entered the weekend with the fourth-fastest time in school history after hitting 17:32.45 at the Camel City Invitational two weeks ago. She now sits at No. 2 All-Time after placing fifth in the conference field in 17:13.73.
American will restart at noon on Sunday with freshmen Arianna Lopez and Kaitlyn McTernan taking the line in the women's mile. Lopez just missed on a spot on the All-Time Top Ten in the event after hitting a 5:08.90 PR during the Camel City Invitational. McTernan currently holds a top time of 5:15.80 for the season.
Sophomore Brianna Belo will follow in the first of her two school record events, the 500m dash. Belo just missed on improving on her 2016 record performance (1:14.46) during the Patriot Games, winning the event in 1:15.58. She will make a quick turnaround, retaking the track for yet another record book event in the 800m run. Belo crashed through Zaia Wharton's 12-year-old record (2:12.80) with a 2:11.41 finish at the Camel City Invitational. She currently leads the Patriot League rankings in the event and ranks fourth in the 500m dash.
A series of men's events will close out the individual races for the weekend, starting with junior Liam Purdy in the men's 800m run. Purdy is also coming off of a record book performance, after he clocked through with the ninth-fastest time in school history, 1:54.35, to sit at fourth in the conference.
The women's and men's distance medley relays (DMR's) will be the last events for the Eagles at 4:10 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. on Sunday.
#AUTF SCHEDULE OF EVENTS - SUNDAY
12:00 p.m. - Mile Run, Women (Arianna Lopez // Kaitlyn McTernan)
1:30 p.m. - 500m Dash, Women (Brianna Belo)
2:00 p.m. - 800m Run, Women (Brianna Belo)
2:15 p.m. - 800m Run, Men (Liam Purdy)
2:40 p.m. - 1000m Run, Men (Matthew Rainey)
3:55 p.m. - 3000m Run, Men (Alaeldin Tirba)
4:10 p.m. - DMR, Women
4:25 p.m. - DMR, Men