South Easton, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Lowell senior track athlete Ruben Sanca (Boston, Mass.) and Southern Connecticut State University junior Letecia Taylor (Plainfield, N.J.) were named the 2008-2009 Northeast-10 Indoor Track & Field Athletes of the Year in a vote by the conference’s eight head coaches. In addition, American International College’s Bidemi Balogun (Providence, R.I.) and the University of New Haven’s Kevin Downing (Meriden, Conn.) were selected the 2008-2009 Freshmen of the Year.
Coach of the Year accolades went out to Southern Connecticut’s Jack Maloney as the Men’s Track & Field Coach of the Year, while UMass Lowell’s Gary Gardner was honored as the Women’s Indoor Track & Field Coach of the Year.
Sanca, the 2008 NE-10 Cross Country Athlete of the Year, added another piece of hardware to his trophy case as he was named the men’s athlete of the year in track & field. He currently stands atop the national rankings in the 5000-meters and has also posted NCAA qualifying marks as a member of the UMass Lowell’s Distance Medley Relay team. Sanca also ran the mile in 4:07.37 which is the fourth fastest time in the country earlier this month.
Taylor set a new Northeast-10 Indoor Track & Field Championship record in the 55-hurdles with a time of 8.06 which currently ranks her in the top seven among the NCAA Division rankings. She was also part of the Southern Connecticut’s 4x400 relay team that place second. Taylor has also broke the school record in the 60-meter high hurdles with a time of 8.80 earlier this season.
Balogun, in her first year competing at the collegiate level, has a season-best and a school-record throw in the weight throw of 52’4.50”, which is .04 away from qualifying provisionally for nationals. She finished first in the event at the Northeast-10 Championships with a winning throw of 51’07.25”.
Downing put together quite the resume in his first year of collegiate action. Top performances this season include in the 200-meter dash a time of 21.66, which is currently the best time in New England and 12th nationally among the Division II leaders. He has also run the 60-meter dash in a time of 6.96, which ranks him in the top 15 in New England. Downing claimed the 200-meter dash in this year’s NE-10 Championship with a time of 21.99 and was third in the 400-meters.
With 15 member institutions the Northeast-10 is the second largest NCAA Division II athletic conference in the nation. Its 23 championship sports provide athletic opportunities for over 5,500 student-athletes, the largest such program of any Division II conference.
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