Baker High School graduate Sean Bernstein has just completed a track career at Oneonta State University full of accomplishments with a pair of NCAA Division III championships and other individual honors.
And for Bernstein, no honor could top being named National Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, this following a spring where he lost once, by a tiny fraction of a second, in 12 sprint races.
During the NCAA Division III meet at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse on May 25, Bernstein first earned a title as part of Oneonta’s 4x100 relay team.
Teamed with Jake Alviene, Joe Carr and Thomas Wheeler, Bernstein and the Red Dragons finished in 40.82 seconds, edging Whittier (40.91 seconds) for the top spot and breaking the school record of 41.01 seconds they set in the preliminary round.
Then it was on to Bernstein’s individual specialty, the 200-meter dash, where he was the defending national champion.
Here, Bernstein would make it back-to-back titles as, in a clocking of 20.81 seconds, he held off Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Thurgood Dennis by 0.05 seconds, slightly slower than his winning mark in 2012 (which is the third-best in NCAA Division III history), but enough to win it all again.
It nearly was three national titles. In the 100-meter dash, Bernstein and Dennis hit the line together in 10.77 seconds. Measured to the thousandths of a second, though, Dennis was 0.007 seconds better and won.
But Bernstein still earned All-American honors, just as he had with his two victories, and was named the Outstanding Track Performer of the national championship meet. He later grabbed the State University of New York Athletic Conference Outdoor Track Athlete of the Year award, having swept the sprint titles in the SUNYAC meet earlier this spring.