05.20.13: Three members of the CCRI track & field team traveled to Hutchinson Community college in Hutchinson, KS to compete at the NJCAA Division I Track and Field National Championships. This is the first time in CCRI history that CCRI has competed at the division I level since moving up from division III last year. The three CCRI participants were Bobby Allen (Cranston, RI) in the 1,500m and 5,000m, Steven Vazquez (Central Falls, RI) in the High Jump and Cassandra Gustafson (Pawtucket, RI) I n the Javelin. As a team the Knights finished in 26th place out of 36 teams at the National Championships with six total points.
The highlight of the meet was Bobby Allen who placed third in the 1,500m run in a CCRI record time of 3 minutes 54.42 seconds. This bested his previous record of 3:54.45 which he set at the Silfen Invitational at Connecticut College. The third place finish also earned the Knights their only six points they had in the meet. In addition, by finishing third he earned Honorable Mention All-American honors the ninth All-American honor for Allen over his illustrious CCRI running career. Allen came back to placed 9th in the 5,000m run with a time of 15:46.92. Both were very solid performances considering he was fighting off a spring sinus infection which severely hampered his ability to breathe efficiently during his races especially the 5k. Not to mention the southern Kansas summer-like 90 degree heat and humidity that also added to his challenge. Head Coach Gregg Cornell commented “He is a great fighter and although he wanted more he made us proud with his gallant efforts in both races. This was the best finish ever by a CCRI Knight or Lady Knight at the NJCAA Division I Spring Track and Field Championship.”
Also competing for CCRI at the Championships was Steven Vazquez who placed 17th in the High Jump with a 1.98m leap. Also, for Lady Knights Cassandra Gustafson placed 13th in the Javelin with a toss of 28.74m. Coach Cornell later added “All three athletes represented the Community College of Rhode Island well. They all have great seasons to look back on.”
The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest comprehensive community college, enrolls nearly 18,000 students in credit courses and thousands more in non-credit and job training classes. Its athletic program boasts 12 varsity programs and an academic support program for all student-athletes.