When it comes to the javelin, no NEC athlete has ever thrown it farther in a collegiate competition than Chris Carper. When it comes to the 200m dash, no sprinter in the history of the conference has run faster than Brendon Rodney.
Both men put their abilities to good use on a semi-national stage this past weekend.
The former threw his way to a gold medal at the NCAA East Region Championships, while the latter was the regional runner-up in his signature event on the track.
As a result, Carper and Rodney earned invitations to Eugene, OR where they will compete for a NCAA Division I national crown.
The 42-event national championship meet commences on June 11 and runs through June 14. Each event will feature 24 entrants, all of whom qualified by virtue of their performances at the regional championships.
LIU Brooklyn’s Mica-Jonathan Petit-Homme and Kemar Lewis are Oregon-bound, too.
Petit-Homme, a junior, has qualified for the national title meet in the 400m hurdles for the second year in a row. He finished 20th of 24 last June, but enters this year’s NCAA Championships off the two-best races of his collegiate career.
Petit-Homme, who had to settle for silver at the 2014 NEC Outdoor Championships, posted back-to-back personal bests on Thursday and Friday at the East Regional. In Friday’s NCAA semifinals, he clocked in at 50.78 to take third in his heat and sixth overall on the region.
Meanwhile, Lewis has bounced back after a disappointing showing at the conference title meet in early May when he no-heighted. At the NCAA East Region Championships, he cleared 2.14m for the first time in his career and did it on his third, and final, attempt of the competition. It was that final leap that landed him a spot in Eugene.
Carper heads to Eugene as the No. 1 national seed in the men’s javelin. His 73.09m launch this past weekend in Jacksonville would have also won him the gold medal had he competed in the NCAA West Region Championships.
The Robert Morris senior ranks eighth overall on the NCAA Division I season leader board, but he out-performed the seven men ahead of him when it counted most this past weekend.
Carper’s national title prospects only improved when the national leader – Tennessee’s Kyle Quinn – failed to advance out of the East Region. Quinn, whose 78.28m throw from the Tennessee Relays in April ranks first in NCAA Division I this season, managed a top mark of 64.20m at the regional and did not make it past the preliminary round.
Kentucky’s Raymond Dykstra boasted the nation’s No. 2 mark heading into the regionals, but Carper beat out the Wildcat head-to-head for the NCAA East title.
Like Dykstra, Western Kentucky’s Tomas Guerra, Texas freshman Fabian Dohmann and Oregon’s Sam Crouser all sat in front of Carper on the national leader board entering this past weekend’s regional championships. All of them earned tickets to Eugene, but none did so with a better mark than the one that the NEC record holder registered in Jacksonville.
Cornell’s Rob Robbins and Ohio State’s Bill Stanley are also amongst the seven throwers to own a better seasonal best than Carper, but neither has competed since April.
It all boils down to the fact that Chris Carper’s national championship prospects are real.
Only four of the 24 men in NCAA Championship field have thrown farther than Carper has this season, and Carper performed better than all four this past weekend.
Rodney owns the ninth-best seed time in the 200m championship field, and has to be thinking about the possibility of medaling in Eugene.
The Canadian-born sprinter clocked in at 20.58 to take silver in Jacksonville and has gone as fast as 20.41 this season.
Watch Rodney set the NEC Outdoor Championship meet record…
Florida’s Dedric Dukes, the lone NCAA sprinter to run a sub-20.00 200m dash this spring, and Southern California’s Aaron Brown are the two pre-meet favorites, but that won’t mean much when the gun goes off at Oregon’s Hayward Field at 4:00 pm on June 12.
Rodney will not be fazed by the big stage. He took 13th place at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships and proceeded to finish fifth overall while representing Team Canada at the World University Games last summer.
Central Connecticut’s Ronea Saunders was as close as can be to joining the NEC contingent in Eugene. The CCSU high jumper set a program record by clearing 1.77m at the NCAA East Region Championships, but failed to advance because of a tiebreaker.
A total of 10 jumpers cleared the same height as Saunders, but only the three who did so on their first attempt gained entry into the NCAA Championship field. Saunders jumped 1.77m on her second attempt at that progression. Interestingly, the final two spots went to women who cleared only 1.72m, but gained automatic qualification by finishing amongst the Top 12 in the weaker NCAA West Region.
Saint Francis U’s Brittany Johnson, who owns the title of “Fastest Woman in the NEC,” finished two spots and .07 second short of a ticket to the national title meet.
In the NCAA East Region finals, which in actuality are the national quarterfinals, Johnson crossed the line in 23.67 to finish fifth in the first of three heats. The top-3 finishers in each heat plus the next three-fastest times advanced to Eugene. Johnson’s mark ranked fifth in the “next three-fastest times” category.
The #NCAAD1E Tweet Sheet
— Flotrack (@Flotrack) June 2, 2014
one of my best friends in real life and long time track teammate Chris Carper is 1st in the nation going into nationals for the javelin!
— WIKD Planarize tK (@Mike_Planarize) May 30, 2014
For the second straight year, Chris Carper will be representing RMU @ the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Congrats Chris! pic.twitter.com/LiREVdHyT2
— RMU Athletics (@RMUAthletics) May 29, 2014
Brendon Rodney of LIU-Brooklyn tops the charts in Heat 5 with a time of 20.62. Just one heat to go in men’s 200.
— Clayton Freeman (@CFreemanJAX) May 31, 2014
Brendon Rodney (1.1) & Justin Walker (1.2) ran 20.58 while @WurldOfBlake also made the NCAA finals in 20.69 as runner-up in semi 3 (1.2, SB)
— Costas Goulas (@lsabre) June 1, 2014
— IG : Bkboy1 (@iSPRINT__) June 1, 2014
Best decision I made was coming to school I am thankful to be blessed with the opportunity
— Brendon Rodney (@BuckkyGotEm) May 30, 2014
Time to get back to NY to start the grind
— Brendon Rodney (@BuckkyGotEm) June 2, 2014