*Courtesy of ECC Media Relations
CENTRAL ISLIP, NY – The St. Thomas Aquinas College men and University of the District of Columbia women's indoor track and field teams have been named the preseason favorites as voted upon by the league's coaches. Senior George Erazo (North Babylon, N.Y.) from St. Thomas Aquinas and sophomore Tiffany Okieme (Bronx, N.Y.) from Georgian Court University were named the ECC Preseason Athlete of the Year for their respective gender.
St. Thomas Aquinas, who shared the 2013 ECC Men's Outdoor Track & Field Championship with Queens College, tops the preseason poll with 32 points and two first place votes. Queens also received two first place votes to finish in second place in the poll with 26 points.
Molloy, who came in the No. 3 spot, and Georgian Court, who came in the No. 5 spot, both earned one first place vote apiece.
On the women's side, UDC narrowly outpaced Georgian Court to top the poll. The Firebirds, who won the inaugural ECC Indoor Track and Field Championship in 2013, received three first place votes and finished with 39 points to top the poll. Georgian Court, who won the 2013 ECC Outdoor Track and Field Championship, received two first place votes and 37 points to finish as runner-up in the poll.
Roberts Wesleyan, who comes in third in the poll with 27 points, received the final first place vote.
The Men's Indoor Track & Field Preseason Athlete of the Year goes to Erazo, who is coming off a standout season a year ago. In 2013, Erazo earned both the ECC Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year award. He also was named Co-Most Outstanding Athlete of the ECC Outdoor Championship meet after winning four events (400m run, 400m hurdles, 4 x 100m relay, 4 x 400m relay) and coming in second in the 200m run and third in the 100m dash. Erazo has begun his 2013-14 season with a bang as well, posting a NCAA National Championship provisional qualifying time of 48.88 seconds in the 400m run at the Boston University Indoor Track & Field Season Opener.
Okieme earns the Women's Indoor Track & Field Preseason Athlete of the Year honor after an outstanding freshman campaign in 2013. In last year's indoor season, Okieme qualified for the NCAA Division II National Championship in the shot put. In the spring outdoor season, she continued to shine, earning All-American status by finishing second in the shot put with a toss of 15.51 meters at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field National Championship. Like Erazo, Okieme has already gotten off to a great start in the 2013-14 indoor season as well. At last week's Princeton University New Year's invitational, she automatically qualified for the 2014 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field National Championship in the shot put with a national-leading throw of 15.50 meters. At the same event, she also had the top toss in Division II to date in the weight throw at 19.26 meters which provisionally qualifies her for the National Championship.
2014 ECC Men's Indoor Track & Field Preseason Poll 2014 ECC Women's Indoor Track & Field Preseason Poll
School Pts. School Pts.
1. St. Thomas Aquinas (2) 32 1. District of Columbia (3) 39
2. Queens (2) 26 2. Georgian Court (2) 37
3. Molloy (1) 24 3. Roberts Wesleyan (1) 27
4. Roberts Wesleyan 21 4. Molloy 19
5. Georgian Court (1) 12 5. St. Thomas Aquinas 16
6. Daemen 8 6. Queens 15
7. Daemen 10
( ) –first place votes