Merino, Black, Benjamin, and Williams Selected as March Athletes of the Month

Keila Merino, 33, of New York has been selected as the USATF New York Open Athlete of the Month for March 2015.  On March 1 Merino finished third in the USA 50 km Championships in Llyod Harbor, N.Y.  Competing in her fist USA championship, she ran the 31 mile course in 3:56:58.  On June 2, Merino will attempt to break the Guiness World Record for the fastest crossing of the United States by a women.  The current record is 69 days set in 1978.  Her goal is to complete the run in 62 days.  As part of her run she will raise money for Back on My Feet NYC to support building a women's shelter. For more information on her record attempt visit her website.

Ivan Black, 66, of New York has been selected as the USATF New York Masters Athlete of the Month for March 2015.  Black started the month off winning three masters M65 titles at the USATF New York Association Indoor Track & Field Championships on March 8.  At the Association championships he won the High Jump (1.35m), Triple Jump (8.71m), and Long Jump (3.75m).  Two weeks later at the USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships in Winston Salem, N.C. he won Triple Jump (9.0m), finished second in the 60m hurdles (11.88), finished third in the Long Jump (4.03m), finished fourth in the High Jump (1.30m) and ran legs on two winning non-club relay teams.

My'khiyah Williams, 13, of Brooklyn has been selected as the USATF New York Youth Athlete of the Month for March 2015.  Williams won the 13-14 girl’s high jump at both the New York and National championships.   On March 7 competing in the New York championships she cleared 1.67m (5' 5¾”) to notch her best indoor mark of her career.  At the Hershey Youth Indoor Nationals (March 12-14) in Landover, Maryland she successfully defended her 2014 title and established a new meet record with a leap of 1.66m (5' 5¼”).  The win marks her third consecutive national indoor title.

High School
Rai Benjamin, 17, of Mount Vernon has been selected as the USATF New York High School Athlete of the Month for March 2015.  Benjamin’s highlight in March was his win in the 400m at the New Balance Indoor Nationals.  In a thrilling race where all four finalists ended up sprawled across the track at the finish he picked up the victory in a very fast 46.61. How fast? The time was U.S. #2 in 2015 (behind his own 46.59 run in the preliminary rounds) and the eighth fastest performance all-time.  Only four athletes have ever run faster than Benjamin over 400m indoors.  He also finished third in the 200m running 21.09 (2015 U.S. #3 and NY #1 ; All-Time 10th fastest performer).  Prior to the national championships he won the Eastern States 200m in 21.37 and the New York State title in the 300m running a meet record 33.29 (#7 performance all-time).