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Firebirds Kick-Off Outdoor Track & Field Season With Dominant Performances in Sprints at Tribe Open

Indoor track All-American Jerily Benjamin ran a personal best of 25.43 in the 200M and placed 3rd in the meet overall.
Indoor track All-American Jerily Benjamin ran a personal best of 25.43 in the 200M and placed 3rd in the meet overall.

WILLIAMSBURG, VA - Coming off a tremendous showing at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships last week, the Firebirds continued their string of good performances with several wins at the Tribe Open to kick off their 2014 Outdoor campaign.

In what would be a low-key season opener, the Firebirds showed their strength in several sprint events and came away with a few victories. They started with the first track event of the day, winning the 4x100M Relay with the quartet of Brittany Okon, Shauna-Kay Creary, Jasmine Smith and Atiya Amis with a time of 49.04.

Next up was the 400M which saw two All-Americans from the Indoor season finishing in the top three in the field of 10 competitors. The win would come from senior Kaydian Jones (Journalism – Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) who ran a personal best 57.16 to win the event handily. She was followed by teammate, sophomore Simone Grant (Health Education – Bronx, NY/Pelham Prep Academy) who narrowly lost to Jones to place 2nd, running 58.18 in her first open 400M as a Firebird and finished 3rd overall.

The Firebirds would then also take the top three positions in the next track event, the 100M. The win was taken by sophomore Brittany Okon (Health Education – Bronx, NY/Pelham Prep Academy) who ran a time of 12.52 seconds, topping her teammate senior Jasmine Smith (Architecture – Baltimore, MD/Polytechnic HS) who ran a personal best 12.62 for 2nd. Third went to senior Atiya Amis (Mass Media – Washington, DC/Dunbar Senior HS) who ran 13.00.

The Firebirds also had a good showing from junior Kimoy Mais (Mass Media – St. Andrew, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) in the only middle-distance event any Firebird student-athlete competed in. She finished 6th best among 15 competitors with a time of 2:23.35.

UDC would return to have several participants in the 200M, including Indoor All-American Jerily Benjamin (Health Education – Queens, NY/Phillip Randolph HS) running a personal best in the 200M with a time of 25.43 seconds, which placed her 3rd best on the day in the field of 22 competitors. Next in for the Firebirds was Shauna-Kay Creary (Accounting – Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) who finished 8th best with a time of 26.15. Other Firebirds would run personal bests on the day including freshman Charmaine Sweeney (History – Landover, MD/Largo HS), who ran a 26.34 to finish 9th and Jasmine Smith who ran 26.40 for 10th best overall.

In the field events, the Firebirds had sophomore Tatyana Calhoun (Environmental Science – Disputanta, VA/Sussex Central HS) opening her track & field season by participating in the Shot Put event. She threw a personal best 9.55M to finish 3rd among seven competitors. Sophomore Myla Somerville (Elementary Education – Loveville, MD/Saint Mary's Ryken HS) cleared 1.45M in her first collegiate meet in the High Jump to finish 11th.

The Firebirds would close the meet with another win on the track as Charmaine Sweeney, Kimoy Mais, Shauna-Kay Creary and Christina Baker earned a comfortable win in the 4x400M by over eight seconds, coming in at a time of 4:03.02.

Next up, the Firebirds head to College Park, MD for the Maryland Invitational March 29th, 2014.

This was a good opener  for us and offered an opportunity to get our feet wet for the Outdoor Season. We came away healthy and now look forward to building on these performances in the coming weeks. We had a great Indoor Season, but now it's time to switch gears and make our mark on the track and in the field this Outdoor season.