Broncs win consecutive MAAC titles for the first time

By Logan K. VanDine

After finishing first in the 2023 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Track and Field Championships, Rider men’s and women’s track and field was looking to defend their titles this year in New York City. With first-place finishes on both sides by the men finishing with 190 points and the women finishing with 179.5, the Broncs repeated as champions for the first time since joining the MAAC.

‘We had some nice performances’

On the first day of the MAAC Championships, the Broncs started off strong as both the men and women placed first on Feb. 24 with the men gaining 75 points and the women with 50.5 points.

“We had some nice performances on day one from the men. A few Rider records, a bunch of PRs, and some strong performances highlighted the night,” Head Coach Bob Hamer said.“We had some great effort from the women in many areas tonight that give us a chance tomorrow.”

Both the men and women had first-place finishes in the 60-meter relay with junior jumper Mariah Stephens placing first and getting a time of 7.62 seconds. For the men, senior sprinter Artie Burgess also had a stellar showing for the Broncs and placed first with a time of 6.74 seconds, a Rider record.

“I feel like I executed my 60 [meters] really well, I got out hard at the start and stayed relaxed and put myself in a good position for the final,” Burgess said.

Stephens was also pleased with her performance on the first day of the championship.

“With having the fastest qualifying times for both the hurdles and the 60 meters, I would say that I gave everything I had in those races,” she said in an email to The Rider News. “I used the little bit of energy I had left to get the win in the long jump on my first jump and my teammates and I brought the energy.”

Stephens wasn’t done that afternoon, as she also competed in the 60-meter hurdles and placed first in that category with a recorded time of 8.61 seconds. For the men, graduate student hurdler Marques Merriweather placed second in the 60-meter hurdles with a recorded time of 8.09 seconds.

Some other notable finishes on the first day of the MAAC Championships featured junior Hailey Palmer finishing in fourth place in the 200 meters with a time of 25.62 seconds and fifth in the 400 meters with a time of 58.75 seconds.

Rider had a strong show in the high jump for both the men and women’s side as junior jumper Savanna Marcantonio finished in second at 1.68 meters and senior jumper Devynn Lee finished in first place at 2.03 meters.

MAAC Champs

Heading into the second day of the MAAC Championships, the men looked to hold first place while the women were looking to work their way out of second. By the end of the day’s action, the Broncs were able to defend their title with first-place finishes by both the men and women to clinch their second MAAC Championships on Feb. 25.

For the men, Burgess picked up right where he left off with a 6.77-second first-place finish in the 60-meter relays, a first-place finish in the high jump, Lee placed first in the triple jump with 14.77 meters in the category. 

Another notable first-place finish was in shot put with junior Jayden DuBard who got 16.30 meters.

“I’m really excited and proud of the men. We needed a total team effort and they brought it this weekend. Every time we needed some big points the men responded. Devynn had an outstanding meet, he called it off with a big win in the triple jump,” Hamer said. “Artie got a huge win in the 60 and runner-up finish in the 200. He is a big-time performer when the lights are on. Jayden got a big win for the team in the shot tonight.”

For the women, Stephens continued her great weekend with a second-place finish in the 60 meters with a time of 7.62 seconds, a first-place finish in the 60 meters hurdle with a time of 8.64 seconds, a first-place finish in the long jump finishing at 5.82 meters and was named MAAC field most outstanding performer.

“It was rewarding to walk away with the Female Most Outstanding Field Performer plaque because there was great competition across all of the field events,” said Stephens. “I couldn’t be happier with how this weekend went on both the track and in the field and I have my parents, teammates, and coaches to thank for helping me get to where I am today.” 

Stephens wasn’t the only one who had a great weekend of MAAC action as graduate student thrower Nataya Glasco had a first-place finish in the shot put with a score of 14.65 meters.

“We faced some adversity with illness and injury but they rose to the occasion. Mariah was outstanding, she was great this weekend, she steps up when she’s needed and that is the sign of a great athlete,” said Hamer. “Natya stepped up big time in the shot today. She was a bit disappointed with the weight throw last night but then she brought it today when we needed to lock down the meet.”

Glasco, who earned a gold medal, talked about how important it was to bounce back and get the win after not getting the results she wanted on the first day of the championship.

“I am grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to compete at this level. I am also grateful for my teammates, coaches, family and friends because they are a part of the reason why I wanted to get after a big throw today, I didn’t want to let them down,” Glasco said. 

Up next for the Broncs is the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America and the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships from March 1 to 3 in Boston.

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