Oct. 21, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. (Oct. 21, 2013) – The St. John’s track & field program will celebrate its rich Olympic history and world-class throwing tradition on Saturday, Nov. 9 with the Second Annual Track & Field Olympic Night in the President’s Room of Carnesecca Arena on the St. John’s Queens campus.
St. John’s Olympians Roman Linscheid (Atlanta, 1996) and Wilkinson Egwu (Seoul, 1988) will be in honored, along with former world and American record holder and 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials champion Sonja Fitts. In addition, a special tribute will be made to long-time St. John’s throws coach and renowned Olympian Kenneth Bantum (Melbourne, 1956), with Red Storm head coach Jim Hurt re-dedicating the University’s outdoor throwing cage on the newly renovated DaSilva Memorial Track in Bantum’s name.
The quartet will be recognized at a reception scheduled to start at 4 p.m. and concluding at 7 p.m. The price of admission is $50 and includes beer, wine, soda, hors d’oeuvres and dessert.
“We are very excited to have our Second Annual Olympic Night and honor Coach Ken Bantum, Wilson Egwu, Sonja Fitts and Roman Linscheid, who all took the St. John’s throwing program to the highest level of the sport,” said Hurt. “The inaugural event last year was such a success that we are encouraging all our alumni and track & field fans to come join us for this special event and celebrate these outstanding individuals.”
Bantum, after a storied career at Manhattan College as an athlete, dedicated over two decades of his life to guiding the St. John’s throws and weights program to the pinnacle of almost every regional, national and international competition in the sport of track & field. During his time at St. John’s, Bantum’s throwers won seven national weight and hammer championships, set two American records, earned three NCAA All-America honors and won three Penn Relays titles. As an Olympian on the 1956 Melbourne team, Bantum placed fourth in the shot put, and adds to his extensive resume as an athlete with NCAA and USA National titles as well as the distinction of being one of the first throwers to break the sixty-foot barrier in the shot put.
One athlete who thrived under the tutelage of Bantum is six-time NCAA All-American Linscheid. One of the most decorated male throwers in St. John’s history, Linscheid held both the indoor and outdoor St. John’s records in the hammer throw while also setting the program mark in the weight throw. Linscheid’s track record includes multiple top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, IC4A Championships and BIG EAST Conference Championships, as well as extensive success on the world’s biggest international stages. Linscheid represented his native Ireland at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the hammer throw as well as at the 1995 and 1997 World Championships.
Fitts, another of Bantum’s prodigies, remains one of the greatest female throwers to come through the St. John’s track & field program, winning titles and setting records at almost every level of competition. Fitts won an incredible 12 BIG EAST individual titles in the shot put, weight throw and hammer throw during her time at St. John’s, and still ranks in the program’s top-5 all-time in four different events. At the 1991 BIG EAST Championships, Fitts set a new world record in the weight throw. A multiple-time All-East performer, Fitts also excelled on the world stage, twice representing the USA at the Pan American games and coming away with a silver medal in the 1991 edition and a bronze medal in 1995. A member of the St. John’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Fitts won USA Track & Field titles in the 20 lb. weight throw in 1988 and 1989, establishing an American record for the event in 1989.
Egwu, the father of current St. John’s assistant coach and throws specialist Blessing Egwu, was a pioneer of the school’s throwing program, claiming BIG EAST titles in the javelin throw in 1980 and 1982. Prior to moving to Queens, N.Y., on an athletic scholarship to St. John’s to be coached by Bantum, Egwu represented his native Nigeria at several international championships and invitationals, traveling to such countries as Algeria, Canada and Italy to compete. After his illustrious career at St. John’s, Egwu competed for Nigeria in the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics in the javelin.
For more information on St. John’s Second Annual Track & Field Olympic Night or to secure your place at this year’s event please contact Assistant Director of Athletic Development Paul Sclafani at (718) 990-5539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.