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LIU-Brooklyn track stars grab First Team All-America honors

June 15, 2016 By John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
LIU-Brooklyn grad student Brendon Rodney won the bronze medal and grabbed First Team All-America honors at last weekend’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Photo courtesy of LIU-Brooklyn Athletics
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LIU-Brooklyn graduate student Brendon Rodney raced to a bronze medal in the 200-meter dash final during last weekend’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, securing his first-ever First Team All-American honor at the event and wrapping up a brilliant career at the Downtown school.

Rodney, a three-time Northeast Region Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year winner, got off to an admittedly slow start out of the blocks in his bid to grab gold in the 200 meters Friday night.

But he caught up quickly, pulling even with the University of Tennessee’s Christian Coleman for the lead before Arkansas senior Jarrion Lawson sped past them both to win the race with a time of 20.19 seconds.

Rodney finished at 20.39, just behind Coleman, who took the silver in one of the evening’s most high-profile events.

By grabbing third place, Rodney became one of only four runners in LIU history to earn First Team All-American status, joining teammate Mica-Jonathan Petit-Homme, who finished seventh in Friday night’s 400-meter hurdle event, and former Blackbird greats Richard James (Class of 2003) and Bryan Steele (’05, ’06).

Rodney, who ran his final race as a Blackbird, had previously earned First Team honors during the indoor portion of the track season, when he finished fourth overall in the 200-meter championships.

As a team, the Blackbirds posted their best-ever finish at the Outdoor NCAAs, securing 29th place to edge past the 2006 squad’s 30th-place ranking. LIU compiled 8.0 total points at the event, drawing even with the University of Georgia while outdistancing the likes of nationally renowned track programs from North Carolina State, Clemson, Arizona State, North Carolina, Texas and Rutgers.

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In other LIU-Brooklyn athletics news, the defending Northeast Conference champion Blackbirds men’s soccer team revealed its 2016 schedule Wednesday morning as longtime head coach TJ Kostecky’s crew tries to repeat after a thrilling run to the Downtown program’s first title since 2004.

The Blackbirds, who nearly toppled Rutgers in the opening round of last year’s NCAA Regionals before suffering a tough shootout loss, will open the 2016 season at Siena on Aug. 26.

Spearheaded by nine returning starters, including reigning NEC Tournament MVP Logan Keys, Rookie of the Year Rasmus Hensen and First Team All-NEC midfielder Simen Hestnes, the Blackbirds will play each of their first five matches away from LIU Field, including a two-day tournament at defending America East champion Vermont from Sept. 2-4.

LIU, which also brings back All-NEC Rookie Team honorees Romario Guscott, Erik Wahlin and Filip Nordstrom from a team that knocked off neighborhood rival and two-time defending NEC champion St. Francis Brooklyn in the NEC Tournament semifinals, will host its first home match on Sept. 16 against Rider.

The bid for an NEC repeat begins on Oct. 7 at Bryant, with the conference home opener coming two days later against Central Connecticut State.

The regular season finale, as it was in 2015, will be held at Brooklyn Bridge Park against the Terriers.

Last year, LIU topped SFC, 1-0, at LIU Field in the season’s last game before bouncing the Terriers from the NECs by pulling out a dramatic shootout win (1-1, 4-3 PKs) at home five days later.

This year’s NEC Tournament will take place from Nov. 11-13 on the campus and/or home field of the top overall seed, with the winner grabbing the league’s automatic bid to the NCAAs.

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The St. Francis Brooklyn water polo team will begin its quest to get back to the NCAA Final Four for the first time since winning back-to-back CWPA Championships in 2012-13 when it faces Pacific University on the campus of Brown University Sept. 3.

Led by head coach Igor Zagoruiko, the Terriers will compete in the newly formed North East Conference this season.

The North East Championships will take place at Princeton from Nov. 18-20, which could result in SFC grabbing a spot in an NCAA Play-In contest on Nov. 26.

The Terriers return seven letterman and nine new additions to a team that went 17-13, including 8-4 in league action, a season ago.


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