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Liotine Leads Backs in 3rd Scrimmage

August 19, 2017
Liotine SBU 2016

Liotine carries the ball vs. Temple last season

This morning, Don Liotine ’13 was the leading rusher for the Stony Brook University Football team in their third intrasquad preseason scrimmage. The former Bear rushed for 43 yards on 8 carries and added a touchdown in a goal line situational play for the Seawolves.

Liotine has been the leading rusher in each of the Seawolves’ three scrimmages. A week ago Liotine led all backs with 38 yards on 8 carries and in the week one scrimmage he racked up 74 yards on six carries, punctuated by a 50-yard run.

Here is the Seawolves’ season preview of the running backs:

Stony Brook running backs coach Omar King always has a smile on his face and why not. The fourth-year coach has one of the most talented groups of backs in the nation led by senior All-CAA Football honoree Stacey Bedell and junior Donald Liotine.

Bedell enters his final season as a Seawolf ranked in the top 10 of numerous career categories in Stony Brook’s history, including third in career touchdowns with 23. He has amassed 2,119 yards during his career and has gained at least 100 yards in 12 games.

Liotine, who has just under 1,000 career yards and fellow junior Jordan Gowins, who gained over 500 yards in his first season at Stony Brook in 2016, give Stony Brook three top threats coming out of the backfield.

Stony Brook opens the season at #19 University of South Florida on Sept. 2nd.

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SBU

Washington Fighting for Starting Job

August 15, 2017
Washington Rutgers

Washington at a Rutgers practice

Though Nakia Griffin-Stewart has been the clear starting tight end for the Rutgers Football team since the start of training camp, Jerome Washington ’12 is doing his best to muddy the waters.

The Daily Targum reported that the former Bear had a strong practice on August 7th and that he and Williams “seem to be battling it out for the starting job.” Washington was one half of the play of the day, according to the Targum:

[Kyle] Bolin looked the sharpest of all the QBs, making the play of the day when he threw a perfect fade route to Jerome Washington, who made the catch in the corner of the end zone despite K.J. Gray and Tim Barrow draped all over him.

Washington and the Scarlet Knights open the season on Friday 9/1 at home vs. #8 Washington.

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Rutgers

Excitement Builds Around Washington

August 4, 2017
Washington Rutgers

Washington at a Rutgers practice

Jerome Washington ’12 and the Rutgers University football team hit the field for the first time together on July 29th for day one of rookie camp. The rest of the Scarlet Knights joined them on July 31st.

In a short span of time Washington displayed a skill set that has people excited about his potential impact on the 148th season of Rutgers football. Keith Sargeant of NJ.com had this to say after Washington’s first team practice:

If the first Rutgers training-camp practice was any indication, Jerry Kill [Rutgers’ offensive coordinator] plans to utilize the tight end. One by one, the Rutgers quarterbacks took a snap, rolled out of the pocket and connected with their big targets in the flat. First it was Nakia Griffin-Stewart who made a grab six yards down the field. Then it was Jerome Washington. And then Myles Nash concluded the drill by hauling in a pass from quarterback Gio Rescigno.

All three tight ends caught the pass in stride and continued running until a coach whistled the play dead. It was only a routine drill in the first hour of Rutgers’ opening practice, but it appeared to be a sign that the Scarlet Knights’ new play-caller means it when he vows to take advantage of his tight ends’ skill sets.

“Our tight end coach said they caught more balls (Monday) than they caught all season last year, so I think we must be making a little progress,” Kill said. “But tight ends will be certainly a part of the offense.”

Rutgers coach Chris Ash, who has seen his share of pro-style tight ends during coaching stops at Wisconsin and Ohio State, said he’s “excited” about the tight end depth.

“The (tight end) room is completely different than it looked like last year, and I’m excited about it,” Ash said before offering a scouting report on each tight end.

Jerome Washington, I thought we had a really good player last year when he was ineligible and just on the scout team. You could see signs of a really good player, especially as we continued to go through the season. He had shoulder surgery in the offseason that kind of limited him early on. But he’s had a great summer and I’m excited to see what he can do. I think he’s going to upgrade our offense.”

In a round table discussion of writers for the Rutgers football SB Nation blog, On the Banks, Aaron Brietman named Washington as the transfer player he is most excited about:

The tight end transfer from Miami hasn’t gotten mentioned much but he brings size and skill to a position that [offensive coordinator Jerry] Kill has said will be much more of a focus this season. He has a real chance to be a breakout star on offense this season.

Washington and the Scarlet Knights open the season on Friday 9/1 at home vs. #8 Washington.

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Rutgers

Don Liotine: Not So Humble Beginnings

July 24, 2017

 

The following is a profile on Don Liotine ’13 written by Kimberly Cataudella ’16. Kimberly is currently working on a dual major in Journalism and Religious Studies at American University. She is also a sportswriter for American’s The Eagle newspaper and is the section editor for “On the Quad” in AU’s The American Word magazine.

Liotine and the Seawolves open the season on September 2nd at the University of South Florida, a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team in the American Athletic Conference.

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Don Liotine: Not So Humble Beginnings

How five years as a Bear led to collegiate success

Don Liotine ‘13, current running back with Stony Brook University’s Division-I football team, attributes his collegiate success to lessons learned from the Stony Brook School. (He also doesn’t have any more shelf space because of his Class Night athletic trophies.)

“The Stony Brook School molded me to be humble, [showing me that] it’s what you do behind closed doors that changes you as a person,” Liotine said. “SBS taught me to stay grounded, work hard, not to accept failure and to keep pushing forward.”

Liotine came to SBS in the eighth grade, and he found himself in Bears jerseys immediately. The former football, baseball, wrestling (and even a little bit of track) star had an immediate athletic impact, and his annual sweeps at Class Night and features on the Bears’ athletic blog proved it to be true.

Liotine was redshirted as a preferred walk-on with Stony Brook University in 2013 after being scouted at his successful game against East Hampton. As the story goes, Seawolf scouts watched the running back rush over 260 yards in the first half of the game, immediately knowing that they would be asking Liotine to wear a Seawolf jersey upon his high school graduation. “Another [player] de-committed from a big school, though, and SBU decided to give him the football scholarship that they were going to give me. So, they asked me to come in as a preferred walk-on,” Liotine said.

Liotine began his Seawolf days in 2013, not realizing the difference in opportunity that he would face as an athlete without an athletic scholarship.

So many of SBU’s football players walked around with a self-entitled swagger, feeling as though they could do whatever they wanted without consequence. Their athletic scholarships and first-pick statuses boosted their egos, which Liotine neither had nor wished he had. “I was seen as a practice player,” Liotine said. What Liotine didn’t realize at the time was that his lack of a scholarship would be the heaviest contributing factor to his self-made football success.

“When I got to SBU, I thought to myself, ‘Oh man, these dude’s are pretty good!’ I didn’t feel like I belonged, so I just put my head down and worked, and I think that’s where the character [that SBS taught me] comes in,” Liotine said. Liotine made it his goal to let it be known that he was chosen to play for SBU for a reason.

Liotine’s first two seasons were interrupted by season-ending injuries in training camp. He was welcomed into the Seawolf football family with a cold bench seat due to his dual shoulder surgeries. “I figured any other person would have put his head down and quit, but I already accepted that I was at SBU to play,” Liotine said.

In his recovery time, Liotine came back to SBS to visit Coach Kris Ryan and help with the football program. “I always looked up to Coach Ryan because he was an amazing running back in college,” Liotine said. Ryan performed at running back as a Quaker at UPenn, then went on to play for the Detroit Lions, though he was cut in training camp due to injuries.

“Coach Ryan was the first coach who was looking out for my best interests.” Ryan would pull Liotine out of games when the Bears had a large lead to preserve his body, and Ryan made sure he knew how important caring for an athlete’s body really is, Liotine said. ” [Coach Ryan] made me the player I am today, without a doubt.”

While Ryan created the athlete, Mrs. Austin holds credit for shaping Liotine into the man of character that he is. Liotine calls Mrs. Austin his grandma, and he visits the Austin family once or twice a year in Florida. “Mrs. Austin took me under her wing. She taught me how to bake cookies, write a paper… Before her, I didn’t know what a thesis was,” Liotine said with a laugh. “Without her, I wouldn’t have made it anywhere. She is essentially the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Now, Liotine has a full football scholarship with SBU and is a starting player on the team while finishing his bachelors in finance and beginning his masters in the fall. “My dream is to continue these next two years as running back, get my masters degree in finance as a backup plan and try to get to the NFL,” Liotine said. “I think I’d sit well with the Patriots, they like underdogs. I’m a huge Cardinals fan, so Cardinals running back would be ideal, but I’ll go to any team that’ll take me… besides the Browns. Forget the Browns.”

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SBU

Etienne 5th at Pan Am Games

July 24, 2017
Etienne 2017 Pan Am

Etienne at the Pan American Junior Championships

Yesterday at the XIX Pan American Junior Championships, Jyles Etienne ’17 jumped 7′ 1″ to secure 5th place in a deep high jump field comprising nine different countries.

Competitors could come in as low as 5′ 10.75″, but Etienne entered the field at 6′ 8.75″, clearing it on his first attempt. He followed with a second attempt clear at 6′ 10.75″ before passing at 6′ 11.75″. He cleared 7′ 1″ on his second attempt and then fell three straight times at 7′ 2.25″, which would have been a personal outdoor record (he jumped 7′ 2.5″ indoors in May).

Etienne has had pain in his plant foot since his US #1 jump of 7′ 2.5″ on May 6th, and he still was not back to full strength for yesterday’s competition, making his 7′ 1″ all the more impressive. This is likely Etienne’s last event before attending Indiana University in the fall.

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Pan American Junior Championship High Jump Results

  1. Roberto Vilches – Mexico – 7′ 3″
  2. Jermaine Francis – St. Kitts & Nevis – 7′ 2.25″
  3. Justice Summerset – USA – 7′ 2.25″
  4. Kyle Alcine – Bahamas – 7′ 2.25″
  5. Jyles Etienne – Bahamas – 7′ 1″
  6. Lushane Wilson – Jamaica – 6′ 11.75″
  7. Isaiah Holmes – USA – 6′ 10.75″
  8. Jaden Bernabela – Curacao – 6′ 8.75″
  9. Noel Vanderzee – Canada – 6′ 6.75″
  10. Ken Franzua – Guatemala – 6′ 6.75″
  11. Joel Della Siega – Canada – 6′ 6.75″
  12. Luciano Lancieri – Uruguay – 6′ 0.75″
  13. Jose Machado – Uruguay – 5′ 10.75″

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Pan Am

Etienne Heads to Pan Am Games

July 19, 2017
Etienne

Etienne (PC: Tribune 242)

A few hours ago Jyles Etienne ’17 stepped aboard a plane bound for Trujillo, Peru for the 2017 Pan American Junior Championships. He will compete on Sunday in the hopes of taking another high jump title home to the Bahamas. The Pan American Junior Championships are held every two years. In the 2015 Championships, held in Alberta, Canada, the gold medal leap in the high jump was 7′ 1″ (2.16m), a height Etienne has cleared outdoors on multiple occasions. It remains to be seen how deep this year’s field is.

The Bahamas’ leading newspaper, The Nassau Guardian, published a story on its national treasure on Monday in anticipation of the 19th U20 Championships.

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The Bahamas will send an eight-member team to the Pan American U20 Athletics Championships, scheduled for July 21-23 in Trujillo, Peru.

The eight members of the team are: Females —Brianne Bethel (100/200 meters), Daejha Moss (long jump/high jump), Serena Brown (discus/shot put), Laquell Harris (discus/shot put); and males —Holland Martin (200 meters/long jump), Jyles Etienne (high jump), Kyle Alcine (high jump/long jump), and Tamar Greene (long jump/triple jump).

Today, The Nassau Guardian sports section features high jumper Jyles Etienne. Here’s his story:

‘My story, my journey’
I started high jumping three years ago as a sophomore at The Stony Brook School in New York. From my very first meet, I knew that I would have a future in this event. My personal best improved over a foot — from 1.88 meters (m)/6’ 2” to 2.20m/7’ 2-1/2” in May of this year, and gave me a ranking of number nine in the world in the under-20 category. It was also the best indoor jump by a high school athlete in the United States of America (USA) this year. In 2016, I made my first track and field national team when I
went to the CARIFTA Games in St. George’s, Grenada, and I won the gold medal in the under-18 boys high jump. I qualified for the Pan American U20 Athletics Championships at my first full meet of 2017, the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ (BAAA) CARIFTA Trials. There I would jump 2.18m/7’ 1-3/4” along with my CARIFTA and Pan Am U20 teammate Kyle Alcine. I had made the CARIFTA team a second time and came back with a bronze medal in the elevated under-20 (U20) division with a jump of 2.16m/7’ 1”.

After competing at CARIFTA, I feel that it showed me what I needed to work on in order to perform at the best of my abilities. I realized that it would be the small things that had the biggest impact on my performance level going forward — whether it be staying focused and hydrated, or making sure I did my exercises and stretches that had helped me in the past.

This year was very tough mentally, as I slightly injured my left heel while jumping my personal best 2.20m/7’ 2-1/2” on May 6 in New York. It was because of a very hard indoor track and the extreme pressure that is put on the heel when jumping that caused the bruised heel. Of course, this was a major setback because I jump with my left foot and subsequently every time I exerted pressure on it, the action would cause immense pain. This injury stopped me from defending my New York state title my senior year, and I missed out on almost a third of my season. The realization that I could not compete at the level that I knew I was capable of, and would miss out on meets that I knew I could win, would take a toll on me mentally, but my season ended on a positive note. My performance had caught the attention of Sports Illustrated and I was featured in the June 7, 2017, edition for my achievements in high school basketball and the high jump.

With the help of my coach, James Rolle, I discovered that my injury was caused mostly because of my take-off position being too low. I needed to be positioned in a more standing and upright position in order for the pressure to be distributed more equally across my foot. The recovery process included many things like icing daily, physical therapy, rest and foot reflexology treatment. Apart from treatment, I worked daily
with my coach, learning how to take off properly in order to prevent something like that from happening again. I had to keep faith in God in order to recover and trust that God has a plan for me, and that everything happens for a reason.

Now I feel ready to take on the challenge of more competition on the world stage in Peru. This meet will prepare me for even bigger stages, such as the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Junior Championships and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Championships next year, when I compete as an athlete for the Indiana Hoosiers. I see the Pan Am U20 Championships as a necessary stepping stone to get me ready for where I want to go and what I want to accomplish.

My goal for Pan Am U20 is to jump at least 2.22m/7’ 3-1/4” and win in the process. The reason I chose that height is to break the New York state record of 2.21m/7’ 3” and to also put me in a good position to try to break the junior national record of 2.28m/7’ 5-3/4”, which is held by Ryan Ingraham. Lastly, I would like to congratulate and extend my best wishes to the rest of the team, as I believe, God willing, all of us will come back with medals around our necks.

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Pan Am

Etienne Earns MileSplit NY’s #2 Moment of 2016-17

July 14, 2017

This week MileSplit New York has been counting down the top 10 moments from the cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track seasons of 2016-17. Jyles Etienne’s 7′ 2.5″ leap to win the St. Anthony’s Invitational earned the #2 spot on their list. Read the recap of the accomplishment and backstory below.

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Well folks, that’s it for the 2016-2017 seasons for Cross Country and Track and Field. With the conclusion of the USA Championships, the majority of our athletes are home for the season, and building towards either college or those cross country courses in the fall. We here at MileSplit NY have just finished our sixth year, and have made many strides in bringing you the best coverage around. In terms of athletes, we’ve had unparalleled performances, new breakout stars, and countless new state records. To keep it succinct, it has been another great year for the Empire State. To commemorate the end of the season, we’d like to look back at our top 10 moments from the past year. These may not be the fastest times or best performances, but they were moments that were aided by the stories behind them, the rivalries established, and the accomplishments achieved. We’ll be releasing two a day, with the top pick being released on Sunday night, honorable mentions as well. While they are ranked numerically, their order is only slightly important. Each moment proved thrilling for the track & field fan in all of us, and we look forward to even more in 2018. And be sure to sound off in our comments for moments you think we missed, as cutting this down to a list of ten was not easy.

Rarely getting the limelight that the track athletes get in New York State, field events are sometimes contested in the fringe, outside the oval.  However, two athletes brought the crowds with them, and created the best head-to-head competition in any event, by any gender, throughout the 2017 season.

Dan Claxton and Jyles Etienne were two high jumpers from Suffolk County. The pair knew each other well. Claxton had gotten the edge over Etienne as a sophomore, setting the Soph State Record. But by junior year, Etienne had caught up, and got the better of Claxton at Penn Relays, and the County Champs. Claxton returned to beat Etienne at State Quals, but trading back, with Etienne grabbing his first State Title at CNS last year. Both would be back, for one last showing, as seniors in 2017.

Their pairing would have to wait until Spring. Given Etienne’s height, he played basketball in the indoor season, heading deep into the State Finals. Meanwhile, Claxton was competing at his best ever. In his second meet of the season, he matched his outdoor best of 6-11. A month and a half later, and Claxton became the first New Yorker over 7ft since the year 2005. At States, he went on to defend his State Title in the High Jump, once again hitting a strong 6-11. Heading to Nationals, Claxton was competing against the best. The competition pulled him to his highest jump yet, a 7-0.25 clearance, but it was only good for third, based on jumpbacks. Still, the mark counted as the Suffolk Record, and capped off a great season.

Meanwhile, Etienne was working his way back. He contested the High Jump after the basketball season was over. Jumping only once indoors, Etienne took a slow return with a 6-8.5 clearance. Indoors was only a warmup. Etienne was getting ready to compete overseas. Ten days later Etienne was in the Bahamas, trying out for the Bahamian CARIFTA team. There, he would take a new personal best, 7-1.75 in a somewhat controversial manner. He was originally DQ’ed for the mark, but was reinstated after a protest. The mark was a new Suffolk Record, and put Claxton on notice. Both would have to improve to prevail.

Etienne would once again reaffirm he was ready to compete, after heading to a bronze medal at CARIFTA. His mark of 7-1 was done without controversy, and his first matchup with Claxton at Penn Relays was on the horizon. In Philly, the pair came to jump. Claxton came in first 6-5, while Etienne clearing his first attempt at 6-6.75. Claxton would clear the next three heights on the first attempt, while Etienne passed up to 6-9, and only making that on the final attempt. Claxton had the lead on jumpbacks heading into 6-10.25, but missed his first two attempts. Etienne cleared on his first attempt. That would decide the matchup, as the pair each couldn’t reach the next height. Score one for Etienne on the season.

One week later, our moment occurred. The pair would meet again. It was the Saint Anthony’s Invite, and the rain was coming down heavy. Meet management made the wise decision to utilize the attached indoor facility for all field events, for concerns over safety. For the first time ever, Claxton and Etienne would meet up at full strength, indoors. Because of the conditions, the event would count as an Indoor Meet. The pair went at it, as usual. Etienne cleared 6-7.25 on the first attempt. Claxton matched. Etienne over 6-9 again, first attempt. Both made 6-10. Then it happened. Etienne cleared 6-11, but Claxton couldn’t match. Jyles Etienne had won. All that was left was to chase Claxton’s marks from Indoor.

Up the bar went. Etienne could pick any mark he wanted. He put it up to 2.16m, or 7-1 in American measurement. On his first attempt, Etienne took his approach, but the jump felt off. He slowed down on the J-turn, and slid under the bar. Instead of trying again, he pushed the bar up to 2.20m, or 7-2.5. If he was going to clear something, might as well make it historical. On the first attempt, he pushed the approach. Up he went, his back over the bar. As he twisted around, his butt hit the bar, causing a stir. But, the bar stayed place, not chasing the athlete down to the mat. Etienne had set a new National Indoor Leader, in the middle of May. It was the second highest jump ever by a New Yorker Indoors, and replaced Claxton’s Indoor Sectional Record. Confidence booming, Etienne moved the bar up once again, now to 2.23m, or 7-3.75. It would be higher than the Outdoor Record of 7-3, but fall just short of the Indoor Record at 7-4. Etienne took one good attempt, lacking the needed rotation, but couldn’t find the same heights on the next two jumps. A new personal best would be good enough, and the second highest jump, Indoors or Out, ever in State History.

The pair would meet up twice more within the season. Claxton would get the advantage both times, but not before equaling Jyles’ Sectional Outdoor Record of 7-1.75 at the State Qualifier. Claxton would follow that up with his first State Title, also over 7-0, and a reverse of fortune at Outdoor Nationals. Etienne would take fourth, while opposite to Indoors, Claxton would win the National Title based on jumpbacks, clearing 7-0.25.

Both finish their careers with jumps over 7ft in both Indoors and Outdoors, rounding out the total athletes who have done so in State History to an even ten. What a year for the event, and no question the top boys event of the year.

Dan Claxton & Jyles Etienne – All-Time Marks

  • Etienne – US #12 – Indoor & NY #2 – Indoor
  • Claxton – NY #4 – Indoor
  • Both Tied – NY #3 – Outdoor

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