LANDOVER, MD - Despite coming off a short respite after the East Coast Conference Championships last Sunday, the University of the District of Columbia outdoor track and field squad showed its late season strength by putting together strong performances at the Kehoe Twilight Meet at the University Maryland Friday evening.
"I thought we competed hard even though we were coming off a busy weekend at the ECC Championships last Sunday," head coach Alton McKenzie said. "We have a few athletes still with a chance to go to the NCAA Championships so we'll look to work towards that for the remainder of the season."
Things got underway early with the Women's Long Jump which saw junior Kaydian Jones (Journalism - Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) continue her consistent high level performances throughout the season, finishing 3rd with a top jump of 5.54M.
Next was the women's 100M where junior Atiya Amis (Mass Media - Washington, DC/Dunbar Senior HS) close out the year with a season's best of 12.87 seconds for a 2nd place finish. Then in the 800M, sophomore Kimoy Mais (Mass Media - St. Andrew, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) also had a season best performance with a 3rd place finish in a time of 2:22.57 seconds.
Later in the 400M, junior Rochelle Nelson (Mass Media - Kingston, Jamaica/Holmwood Tech HS) placed 2nd with a time of 59.36 followed by her teammate, freshman Marlena Wright (Journalism - Brons, NY/Dewitt Clinton HS) in 3rd with a time of 60.31. Also, the 4x100M team of Kaydian Jones, Shauna-Kay Creary, Simone Grant and Jerily Benjamin were victorious with a time of 48.23 seconds.
But it was back to the field where the Firebirds had their biggest moment of the evening. Junior Shauna-Kay Creary (Accounting - Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) had a breakthrough meet in the Triple Jump, with her last four jumps seeing her improve her season best in the event on every jump. Her final mark of 12.02M was an NCAA Provisional qualifying mark which gives her the 19th best mark in the country.
Building on their great momentum, the 4x400 team of Callister Jones, Jerily Benjamin, Simone Grant and Kaydian Jones ran a superb race to finish 2nd only to the University of Maryland, battling on each leg. Their time of 3:51.96 currently places them 34th in Division II in the 4x400M.
"As a team we've had a tremendous season, highlighted by some strong performances at the Conference Championships, and hopefully we can have a few of our athletes extend their season all the way to the NCAA Championships," McKenzie said.
The Firebirds will next compete at the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville, VA on Saturday, May 11th.