Six to be inducted into Salem State hall
Salem State University was not able to offer Eddie Bynum a home track facility.
But in return, the Lynn native delivered, supplying some of the finest moments — and perhaps the most storied career — in program history.
The Lynn English graduate arrived on campus in the fall of 2004 and accepted a harsh reality: He could practice, but he would not have the luxury of getting comfortable. His intense preparation took him across Eastern Massachusetts, whether that was at Roxbury’s Reggie Lewis Center, Bishop Fenwick, Gordon College, Salem High, or others facilities.
The dedication paid off.
A member of Salem State’s class of 2008, Bynum was a two-time indoor NCAA Division 3 national champion in the 55-meter sprint.
He will now join five other inductees in the university’s athletic hall of fame. The hall’s class of 2014 also includes Stanley Cahill , executive vice president of administration and risk management (1986-2014); Kie Tanaka , women’s tennis (2003-2007); Fabian Mejia-Villa , cross-country and track and field (2002-2006); Mike Chizauskas , golf (1991-1995); and Eric Downie , basketball (2005-2007). In addition, Salem State will retire the No. 4 jersey of women’s basketball player Mary Dolores Brown Sokol (’87), a four-year starter and cocaptain of the 1986 national championship team. The ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 28.
“It was more about making do with what you have,” said the 28-year-old Bynum, who currently works as a financial analyst at Raytheon. “I didn’t have a track, but that didn’t stop me from loving the sport that I love. I just loved going out there and competing.”
Bynum’s personal success came just in time. In 2010, Salem State eliminated its men’s and women’s track-and-field programs due to budget cuts on campus and the low numbers of participation on both teams.
Bynum came to Salem State without a long history in track. He only joined the outdoor program at English as a junior before competing both indoors and outdoors as a senior.
At Salem State, he blossomed into a regionally and nationally ranked sprinter, earning six All-American honors, and also representing Salem State at the 2008 NCAA outdoor championships in both the 100 and 200 meters.
The local athlete competing for a small state school left his mark.
“For a lot of those teams at the national level, you could tell they had [15, 20 kids], and I just thought, ‘Here I am, just the lonely one,’ ” Bynum said, laughing. “But I knew I wanted to win, and cement my place at Salem State.”
Downie, a Brighton native who attended North Cambridge Catholic, also cemented his legacy.
Also recruited by Northeastern, Downie starred at Salem State for two seasons after his transfer from Bunker Hill Community College. He was the MASCAC’s Player of the Year twice and earned Division 3 All-American honors as a senior after powering the Vikings to a 24-3 mark and the second round of the NCAA tournament. He averaged 20.6 points per game in two seasons.
Division 1 or Division 3, Downie was not going to take his role on a college basketball program for granted.
“I worked harder than the 12th guy on the bench,” said Downie, who is currently a program assistant for Boston Scholar Athletes, after a semipro career with the Manchester Millrats and Boston Blizzard. “I was in the gym every day lifting and shooting, and making sure everything was taken care of.”
Jesse Haynes-Lewis was a four-year lineman on the football team at Swampscott High. He also played baseball for two years.
But last week, the Nahant teen returned from Colorado Springs with a national championship in tow after capturing a Junior Olympic title in double trap. An Olympic sport since 1996, the double trap involves shooting at two clay targets simultaneously.
The 18-year-old Haynes-Lewis edged Logan Mountain of Palmdale, Calif., 8-7, in a shootoff.
“I’ve been shooting competitively for four years — and the double trap for two,” Haynes-Lewis said, in response to his ability to compete under pressure. “So I’ve done a lot of mental training. I think the majority of sports is mental — and [it’s] even more [important] in shooting.”
With the win, Haynes-Lewis earned a spot on the junior national team, which is the next step in the progression to the national team and a possible run at Olympic qualification.
Haynes-Lewis is headed to the University of Massachusetts Lowell this fall.
Odds and ends
Shawn Thornton , formerly the athletic director at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, has accepted the same position at Greater Lawrence Tech. The Bridgewater State College graduate received his master’s degree from Northeastern University and has worked as athletic director and girls’ basketball coach at Saint Clement and Pope John. . . . Seabrook, N.H.’s Ashante Little , a recent graduate of Wheaton College, has been offered a semipro membership by the World Athletics Center in Phoenix for the 2014-2015 season. The center is a training organization that features coaching, support, and education for elite track-and-field participants. At Wheaton, Little was a two-time NCAA national champion, a 16-time NCAA All-American, and the NCAA 400-meter outdoor national champion in 2013, as well as the NCAA 400-meter indoor national champion in 2014.
Jeff Powalisz can be reached at email@example.com.