BALTIMORE, MD - With one week to go before their first East Coast Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the Firebirds took advantage of one final opportunity to fine-tune their preparation with competitive performances at the Morgan State Legacy Meet on Saturday.
As has been the case all season, the Firebirds started their day early with the first event of the day. This go-around, it was junior Shauna-Kay Creary (Accounting - Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) who cleared 1.58M in the high jump in her first High Jump competition for the Outdoor Season to finish 7th overall.
Her fellow jumpers continued the trend of strong performances, but this time in the Long Jump. Junior Kaydian Jones (Journalism – Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) was 8th amongst 35 collegiate competitors with a jump of 5.55M. But it was freshman Simone Grant (Health Education – Bronx, NY/Pelham Prep Academy) who shone brightest, jumping personal bests on consecutive jumps: 5.56M on her 4th attempt, and 5.57M on her fifth jump. This placed her 6th on the day overall in the Women's Long jump.
On the track, the Firebirds had a slew of 400M runners compete in Heat 6, with sophomore Jerily Benjamin (Undecided – Queens, NY/Phillip Randolph HS) finishing 4th of eight runners with a time of 58.83 which placed her 18th overall in a field of 44 competitors. Senior Callister Jones (Marketing – Fort Washington, MD/Oxon Hill HS) followed close behind at 5th in the heat with a time of 59.24 for 21st overall. Freshman Marlena Wright (Journalism – Bronx, NY/Dewitt Clinton HS) was 7th in the heat with a time of 59.83 for 24th overall.
There was also a trio of runners in the 200M, with Grant and Creary running in Heat 6. Creary was 5th in the heat with a time of 25.51 which was 34th best of 60 runners. Grant finished 3rd in the heat with a time of 25.23 – 28th best on the day. Kaydian Jones finished 2nd in Heat 8 with a time of 24.73, good enough for 11th best on the day.
The Firebirds then wrapped up the day in the 4x400M with the team of Callister Jones, Jerily Benjamin, Marlena Wright and Simone Grant finishing 5th in Heat 3 with a time of 3:57.22. This time was good for 6th best on the day amongst 13 teams that ran the 4x400M.
The Firebirds finished tied for 15th among 22 teams that scored on the day with a total of 10 points.
Head coach Alton McKenzie was not thrilled with the team's performance Saturday, but pointed out there were at least a few positive takeaways.
"We didn't get as many big performances as we would have liked, but with the Conference Championships a week away it was good to work on getting race sharp on the track and work on technical fine tuning in the field," McKenzie said. "I think we also got a chance to measure ourselves against top-tier Division I competition and that is always good from a competitive standpoint. We came out of the meet healthy as well, so now we can look forward to the Championship portion of our season."
The Firebirds will compete in the ECC Championships on Sunday, April 28th in South Huntington, NY.