A storied Long Island college track and field program is back.
NYIT will reinstate its men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor programs and compete in distance and mid-distance events in the 2018-2019 seasons, the school will announce Wednesday afternoon. The program was cut in 2004 for budgetary reasons, but thanks to alumni interest and the school’s increasing financial investments in athletics, it was brought back, school officials said.
The relaunched team will be composed primarily of cross country athletes at first, but will incorporate sprinting and field events as the roster grows and renovations are made to NYIT facilities, including a new outdoor track.
The team will compete in the East Coast Conference outdoor championships next spring, joining LIU-Post and Molloy, among others.
Before being cut, the program produced five Olympians, including Patrick Jarrett, who ran for Jamaica in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and the world championships in 2001. It also produced 27 Division II national champions, and more than 300 All-Americans in both indoor and outdoor track over a three-decade span.
The NYIT Athletics Hall of Fame includes track athletes Renee Adams, Howard Burnett, Debra Cooke, Louis Chisari, Joanne Gardner, Evan Clarke, Danielle St. Leger, Lenval Laird, Doris Leggett-Switzer , Melanie Austin-McCain, Roy Student, Bennie Harper, and Jarrett.
Additionally, the 1998 Division II national champion 4x100-meter relay team of Patrick Brown, Paston Coke, Kesrick Fraser and Jarrett was inducted as a group in 2011.
Legendary coach Pete Zinno, who continues to assist with the cross country program, was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2005.