West Babylon, N.Y. – Roberts Wesleyan's women's team and St. Thomas Aquinas' men's team have been selected as the frontrunners to capture East Coast Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships in a vote by the league’s coaches. In addition, for the second straight year junior St. Jacob Diodonet (West Milford, N.J.) from St. Thomas Aquinas and senior Chelsea Hayward (Litchfield, Conn.) of Roberts Wesleyan take home the ECC Preseason Athlete of the Year awards for their respective gender.
In the men's poll, St. Thomas Aquinas, who was the ECC Outdoor Track & Field Champion in 2017, earned four first place votes and 58 points to narrowly outpace runner-up, Roberts Wesleyan. The Redhawks earned three first place votes and were just two points behind the Spartans with 56 points. Georgian Court, the conference's defending champion, earned the final first place vote and comes in third with 49 points.
On the women’s side, Roberts Wesleyan, who is attempting to win their fourth straight ECC Championship, is a heavy favorite after picking up six out of nine first place votes to top the poll with 69 points. St. Thomas Aquinas was second in the poll with one first place vote and 60 points, while Georgian Court rounded out the top three with two first place votes and 50 points.
Diodonet earns the preseason honor after earning his second straight ECC Men's Indoor Track & Field Athlete of the Year award a season ago. He repeated as the ECC Champion in the 200m (21.85) and 400m (48.32) in meet record times, while also finishing first as part of the 4x400 relay team (3:20.78). He also finished third in the 60m (7.12) to earn the ECC Championship Most Outstanding Athlete award for the second consecutive season, as well. Another feet he accomplished for a second straight season was qualifying for the NCAA Division II Championship in the 400m. He earned All-American Second Team status after a twelfth place finish in a time of 48.15.
Hayward was dominant once again last season on the way to winning the ECC Athlete of the Year honor. Hayward, a sprinter, won 16 out of the 20 individual events she entered during the indoor season. She was the runner-up in three of the four events she didn't win. Hayward was once again the ECC Championship Most Outstanding Athlete after setting ECC records in the 60m (7.65) and 200m (24.80), while also winning the 400m (57.40). Hayward's accolades continued by winning the 60m (7.66) and 200m (24.32) at the National Christian College Athletic Association National Championships for the second straight season. Her most impressive accomplishment of the season was her First Team All-America honor after a fourth place finish in a time of 24.01 at the NCAA Division II Championship in the 200m.
2017-18 ECC Men's Indoor Track & Field Preseason Poll
|1. St. Thomas Aquinas (4)||58|
|2. Roberts Wesleya (3)||56|
|3. Georgian Court (1)||49|
|5. LIU Post||33|
|8. Holy Family||16|
2017-18 ECC Women's Indoor Track & Field Preseason Poll
|1. Roberts Wesleyan (6)||69|
|2. St Thomas Aquinas (1)||60|
|3. Georgian Court (2)||50|
|4. Dist. Columbia||41|
|T5. LIU Post||33|
|9. Holy Family||10|
() - first place votes