By Dylan Bestler
The St. Thomas Aquinas College men’s track and field team won the East Coast Conference championship on Saturday, defeating two-time defending champions Roberts Wesleyan University, outscoring them 200-184. The team consists of a lot of former Rockland County track and field athletes, including many that contributed many points to the team, earning All-Conference honors.
The team has a good mix of young talent and veteran leadership. Seniors representing Rockland County are Winslow Dorsainvil and Jamer Linares. Dorsainvil, from Spring Valley High School, won the 100 meter dash for the fourth year in a row with a time of 10.87. He also placed 4th in the 200 meter dash, earning himself first-team and second-team All-Conference honors. Dorsainvil was named All-Region in the 60 meter dash in the indoor season for his time of 6.76 and competed at Division II Nationals. Linares, of Nyack High School, took 2nd place in the 10,000 meter run, earning himself a first-team All-Conference honor. This was the first time in his career he has earned that title. These two will be ending their careers, running for St. Thomas Aquinas.
“When you are a part of this Spartan team, it motivates you to play a role and to contribute,” Linares said. “What I will miss the most will definitely be the bonds with my teammates and coaches. We’ve been through so much together… I definitely felt the love and support from every teammate from the sprints, jumps, throwers and distance side of the Spartan team in my last race at ECCs and throughout my entire athletic career as Spartan.”
Other standout performances had by the veteran Rockland athletes include juniors Mohamed Ifhikar and Vinny Vasquez. Ifhikar, out of Nanuet High School, won the triple jump with a leap of 43 feet, 8 inches, earning himself first-team All-Conference honors. Vasquez, out of North Rockland High School placed third in the 5,000 meters with a time of 15:55.05, earning himself second-team All-Conference honors. These two will enter their senior years, hoping to help bring back another title.
The Spartans have had a wave of gifted athletes come in the past two years. Sophomore Frank Schiavone and freshmen Mich Philistin and Rickssen Opont all had outstanding performances at the meet. Opont, out of Nyack High School, placed first in the shot put and discus. Schiavone, of Nanuet High School, took third in the 400 meter hurdles and pole vault. His hurdle time of 55.52 was his personal best, running over three seconds faster than his previous collegiate best. Schiavone was also on the 4×400 meter relay team that placed second overall. Philistin, from Spring Valley High School, was also on that relay team, and placed fourth overall in the 400 meter dash with a time of 51.01. Both earned second-team All-Conference honors.
Their 4×400 meter relay team, which also featured freshman Lugduni DesRosiers, also from Spring Valley High School and Sophomore St. Jacob Diodonet of West Milford High School, was named All-Region for the indoor season, running a time of 3:19.51. This is a young team that has the potential to make a run at Nationals in the near future.
“We had such a huge improvement this year from last,” said Schiavone. “We went from running our best time of 3:25 in winter to running 3:19 which is a ginormous jump. That time was hit because of the work everyone put into working hard and improving…By the time I’m a senior I think we are going to be a team that no one will want to come up against.”
The Rockland County track and field programs should be proud of all their athletes for continuing their success in the classroom and on the track.