How do you approach selecting the top five moments in the illustrious career of cross-country and track and field coach Joe Compagni, who retired last summer? You do the best you can. The Hawks captured 58 conference championships and produced 25 All-Americans under Compagni’s reign, so the exercise is a bit like picking the cutest newborn in a nursery. Nonetheless, here is our list of the five most impactful achievements during Compagni’s 24-year tenure at Monmouth.
5. 1998 NEC Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Champions
All great runs have a starting point, and when the men’s team won the 1998 NEC title, it laid the foundation for a Hawks dynasty. Monmouth was an underdog to two-time defending champion Mount Saint Mary’s and Rider University, but the scrappy group rose to the occasion. The championship came down to the 4×400 relay, and the Hawks raced to a two-point victory to register the program’s first conference title. Monmouth defended their crown the following season and won 11 of the next 16 NEC trophies.
4. 2000 NEC Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Champions
Mount Saint Mary’s and Fairleigh Dickinson University had a stranglehold on the conference trophy for a decade. But the Monmouth women rallied to register 125 team points and win the first of three straight titles. The Hawks won 10 NEC championships by 2013, including five consecutive titles from 2009–13. The women’s cross-country team followed with its first NEC title in the fall of 2000.
3. 2019 MAAC Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Champions
The men’s track and field program put an exclamation point on Compagni’s prolific career with arguably the greatest season in program history. Monmouth won its sixth straight MAAC title by shattering the conference record, amassing 339 team points. It was the highest team point total in any conference championship across the nation.
2. Trio Competes at 2019 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
Star power boosts program recognition, and Monmouth has featured its share. Three Hawks qualified for the national championship meet last spring, the highest number in program history. Allie Wilson ’18, ’19M (800-meter), Corey Murphy ’19 (shot put), and sophomore Danielle Steff (javelin) all competed at the outdoor championships in Austin, Texas. Murphy and Steff earned national honors, while Wilson placed fifth to earn First Team All-American honors, the third national citation of her distinguished career.
1. 70-plus Citations for All-Academic Team Honors
For 20 straight seasons, the men’s and women’s track and field teams have been honored by the USTFCCCA as All-Academic Teams by accumulating a team GPA over a 3.0. The women’s cross-country team has been named to the list for 18 straight seasons, and the men’s cross-country team has made the list 13 out of the last 14 seasons. Those incredible numbers are a testament to placing academics at the top of the priority list.