The St. Thomas Aquinas College Men's Track & Field trio of Dante Brown, St. Jacob Diodonet and Rickssen Opont have arrived in the Lone Star State, each with aspirations of capturing both their first and the program's first NCAA Division II Track & Field Championship. The championship chase will get underway beginning this Thursday, May 23rd at Javelina Stadium on the campus of Texas A&M University - Kingsville, and will conclude on Saturday, May 25th.
Diodonet (Sr./West Milford, N.J.) will be making his second appearance at the Outdoor National Championships in the 400 Meter Dash. On May 11, in his final tune-up race before Texas at the University of Mount Olive Meet in North Carolina, Diodonet surpassed his personal best and hit the 15th fastest time in Division II, clocking in at 46.96. Saint was also named an All-East Region selection in the 100, 200, 400 Meter Dashes and 4x100 Meter Relay. St. Jacob will close out his collegiate career as one of the most decorated track & field athletes in the program's history, having taken part 6 National Championships (4 Indoor and 2 Outdoor). Diodonet is multiple time All-American, and will once again hold that distinction following yet another outstanding academic and athletic year at St. Thomas Aquinas College.
Opont (RJr./Nyack, N.Y.) will be making his first appearance at Division II National Championships, competing in the Shot Put, where he finished 17th in the country with a throw of 17.67m (57-11.5). Opont finished 1st in the East Region with that mark and was also named to the All-Region honor roll. Rickssen hit his qualifying mark of 17.67m back in mid-March at the University of Miami Hurricane Invitational, while the team was on their week-long Spring Break Florida tour.
Brown (So./Nyack, N.Y.) will also be making his National Championship debut, taking on Division II's best in the Long Jump, where he leaped 7.45m (24-5.5). Dante has the 19th best jump heading into the Lone Star State meet and was the top jumper in the East Region with that mark of 7.45m. Dante hit his qualifying mark of at the St. John's University Tom Farrell Classic on May 4. Dante was also named an All-Region selection in the Long Jump, as well as the 4x100 Meter Relay.
NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Thursday, May 23rd
Dante Brown (Long Jump Finals): 7:20pm EDT/6:20pm CDT
Saint Jacob Diodonet (400 Meter Dash Prelims): 7:40pm EDT/6:40pm CDT
Saturday, May 25th
Rickssen Opont (Shot Put Finals): 6:05pm EDT/5:05pm CDT
400 Meter Dash Finals (If Necessary): 7:25pm EDT/6:25 CDT