After a phenomenal debut season that has seen him named the league’s top field rookie for five straight weeks at one point, freshman Kenny Clarke (Oakland, N.J.) of the Merrimack College men’s track & field team has been named the Northeast-10 Conference Indoor Field Rookie of the Year on Thursday.
Clarke becomes the fifth student-athlete in program history to garner an end-of-year honor and the second male; sophomore John Braga (North Reading, Mass.) was named the Outdoor Field Rookie of the Year at the end of the 2014 campaign, while sophomore Carly Muscaro (Ashland, Mass.) was the Indoor and Outdoor Track Rookie of the Year last year, and senior Noelia Figuereo (Haverhill, Mass.) earned similar honors after the indoor campaign in 2012-13.
It has been quite a debut season for the Oakland, New Jersey, native, who has shined in all three jumping events. His distance of 1.95m (6′-4.75″) on Jan. 31 at the Boston University John Thomas Invitational was a school record until Braga inched by him by less than an inch at New England’s last weekend. He also is among the top-three marks all-time in the long jump (6.57), while his distance of 13.20m (43′-3.75″) in the triple jump that he set at Tufts on Feb. 7 still stands as the top mark in school history.
Overall, Clarke owns six top-10 finishes this season; he placed 23rd in the triple jump at New England’s last weekend and third in the high jump at the Northeast-10 Championships.