Ada, OH (3/15/08) – All it takes in one chance.For freshman Monique Riddick (Edison, NJ / Bishop Ahr), it proved to be all she would need as the first-year athlete became the latest national champion for Montclair State, capturing the shot put at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships held at Ohio Northern University on Saturday.
Riddick's title helped MSU finish 15th as a team, Montclair's best showing since 2005. Junior Eugene Asimou (Livingston, NJ / Livingston) placed fourth in the men's shot put as the Red Hawks finished tied for 39th place.
The individual title was the sixth in the indoor history for Montclair State, however it almost didn't happen. Riddick reached the NCAA Championships by posting an automatic qualifying mark of 13.95 meters in January. But in the preliminaries, she managed just a throw of 13.14 meters which was ninth among the field of 12 competitors. Still Riddick advanced to the final round.
In the finals Riddick posted fouls on her first two attempts before registering a mark of 13.14 on her third throw. Her fourth traveled 13.49 and her fifth a bit further at 13.67. With one throw remaining, Riddick made the most of it, tossing the shot put 14.14 meters, just over five inches better than Lauren Lucci of Widener University to claim the title.
“Right now I am so excited. I came here hoping to win but I wanted to throw my farthest and get a personal record," said Riddick. "I went into my final throw with the mind set that this was it and I should give it my all. I thought that I had nothing to lose.”
Riddick becomes the Red Hawks first indoor champion since Enrique Llanos (55 hurdles) in 2002 and the first female since Sharon Lindo in 1993 to win an individual national championship.
The victory capped an outstanding indoor season for Riddick, who was named the NJAC Female Field Athlete of the Week twice this season, finished first in six of the 10 meets she competed in while placing second on two other ocassions. She won the shot put in her first collegiate event at the Wesleyan (CT) Invitational and recorded her NCAA qualifying mark as she took top honors in the event at the Great Dane Classic on January 25. Riddick would go on to win at the CTC Indoor Championships and added the NJAC Indoor title in the event two weeks later on February 25.
Asimou had the third-best throw during the preliminary round as he record a throw of 16.70 meters (54-feet, 9 1/2-inches) to break his own school record set in February. In the finals, Asimou, the CTC and NJAC champion, would match the mark on his third attempt.
The Red Hawks' third entry at the NCAAs, Will Brown (Gloucester, NJ / Palmyra), the NJAC Outstanding Male Track Athlete, posted a time of 7.81 in the 55 hurdles, but just missed out on advancing to the finals. Brown earned his spot in the Indoor Championships as he recorded an automatic qualifying mark of 7.54 in winning the event at the NJAC Championships.