PAWTUCKET, R.I. – The Little East Conference announced the 2017 Women’s Outdoor Track and Field major awards, as voted on by the league’s head coaches. Rhode Island College’s Melanie Brunelle is the only repeat major award winner and all other honorees are first time outdoor track and field major award winners.
UMass Boston freshman Wadeline Jonathas (Gonaives, Haiti) followed up her national championship indoor season with an outstanding outdoor track and field season. At the Little East Conference (LEC) and New England Alliance (NEA) championships, Jonathas won a UMass Boston program record six championship medals in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 400-meter dash, the long jump and both the 4x100 and the 4x400 relay events. In winning the six championship medals, Jonathas broke four Little East Conference records and three New England Alliance records. Jonathas dominated the track by setting the 100-meter dash record with a time of 11.77 seconds and set the 200-meter dash record with a final time of 23.79 seconds. Jonathas also set the LEC record by winning the LEC and NEA championships in the long jump with an official distance of 5.57 meters. Jonathas, joined by her relay teammates also took gold in the 4x100 (Lexy Bean (Danvers, Mass.), Olivia Burnes (Paxton, Mass.) and Taylor Driggers (Lisbon, Conn.)) and the 4x400 (Bean, Burnes, and Ashley Hernandez (Miami, Fla.)) events.
Wadeline Jonathas was also named the 2017 Little East Conference Outdoor Rookie Track Athlete of the Year as well, following her recorded breaking performance at the LEC/NEA Championships. In the recent weeks, Jonathas has been named the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week for the second consecutive week after recording the fastest time in Division III history in the 200-meter dash and the third fastest time in the 100-meter dash at the NCAA Regional Championships. Jonathas currently ranks first in the nation in the 100-meter dash (11.59), the 200-meter dash (23.67) and third in the 400-meter dash (55.50).
Rhode Island College sophomore Melanie Brunelle (Warwick, R.I) was named the 2017 LEC Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year. Brunelle captured the LEC and NEA championships in the high jump and the triple jump, breaking the Little East championship record in the triple jump with a distance of 11.76 meters. Brunelle’s triple jump distance currently ranks 15th best in the nation and sixth best among all New England participants. Brunelle took the high jump championship with a distance of 1.57 meters, which is currently 14th best in the New England regional rankings. Brunelle also participated in the long jump, finishing fourth with a score of 5.30 meters, which also ranks sixth best in New England. Brunelle recently took All-New England honors in the triple jump, long jump and the 4x100 meter relay.
Southern Maine freshman Adela Kalilwa (Lewiston, ME) was named the 2017 Little East Conference Rookie Field Athlete of the Year. Kalilwa finished strong with a pair of second place finishes in the women’s long jump and the triple jump. Kalilwa recorded a distance of 5.52 meters in the long jump, finishing .05 meters behind UMass Boston’s Jonathas and her record breaking jump of 5.57 meters. In the triple jump, Kalilwa finished with a distance of 11.75 meters, a minuscule .01 meters behind RIC’s Brunelle and her LEC record breaking leap of 11.76 meters. Kalilwa also finished fourth in the 100-meter dash (12.41) and sixth in the 200-meter dash (25.83) as the LEC/NEA Championships and provided a well-rounded performance to help the Huskies win its 18th consecutive LEC Outdoor Track and Field Championship.
The 2017 Little East Conference Outdoor Track and Field Coaching Staff of the Year went to the 2017 Little East Conference/New England Alliance champions, the University of Southern Maine. Led by head coach George Towle, the Huskies won its 18th consecutive Little East Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship with 188 LEC points. The Huskies also claimed the 2017 New England Alliance Championship with 166.75 points for the clean LEC/NEA championship sweep.
Track Athlete of the Year
Wadeline Jonathas, Freshman, UMass Boston
Field Athlete of the Year
Melanie Brunelle, Sophomore, Rhode Island College
Rookie Track Athlete of the Year
Wadeline Jonathas, Freshman, UMass Boston
Rookie Field Athlete of the Year
Adela Kalilwa, Freshman, Southern Maine
Coaching Staff of the Year
University of Southern Maine
The historic competitive success the LEC has achieved throughout the 30 years, beginning as a basketball only conference in 1986 and expanding into today's 19-Championship Sport Conference, will continue to make academic and athletic strides as the LEC continues to be the premier Division III conference of the New England region.
The Little East Conference was formed in 1986 when six public institutions gathered to create a single sport athletic conference and has expanded into what is now New England's premier athletic conference for public institutions in NCAA Division III. The LEC features 19 Championship Sports and sponsors quality competition in every season for our student athletes while following the Division III mission of passion, responsibility, sportsmanship and citizenshi