Huge first conference meet for Rider freshman Sam Aviles, who won the 55-meter hurdles and placed second in the 55-meter dash just under 15 minutes apart at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships.
Aviles, a Palmyra graduate, ran a personal-best 8.09 to win the 60-meter hurdles then raced back down to the paddock and took second in the 60 in 6.88, just 1-100th of a second off the PR he had set in the trials.
Aviles’ previous hurdles PR was 8.11 from Ocean Breeze back in December. He ran 8.12 to lead all qualifiers in the prelims before his 8.09 in the final.
Aviles’ 8.09 equals No. 8 in Rider history and is 1-100th of a second behind Maple Shade graduate Brandon Hicks’ 8.08 from 2003 for No. 7. Moorestown’s Dwayne Robinson is No. 5 on that list from 1992. The last Rider hurdler to run faster was James Burroughs, who ran 7.96 in 2013.
Incredibly, Aviles is one of three college freshmen from South Jersey that’s run sub-8.10 this year. Sincere Rhea of Penn State and St. Augustine, the indoor national champ last winter, is the No. 3 freshman in NCAA Division 1 at 7.81. Syracuse freshman Naseem Smith of Syracuse (8.08) and Aviles are both also among the top 25 freshmen nationally.