BALTIMORE – The UMBC track and field team finishes the invitational portion of its indoor season with the two-day New Balance Collegiate Invitational, beginning on Friday in New York, N.Y.
The Retrievers travel to New York for the second time this season to compete against athletes from over 100 collegiate institutions. Team entering athletes include men's reigning national champion Florida and women's current number one team, Clemson. This meet gains even more importance this season as it is the last chance to improve times and distances before the America East Championships, which were moved up a week due to facility changes.
Already the school record holder in both the 60m dash and 200m dash, sophomore Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) broke both of her marks last week against a national field at the Penn State National Invitational. After lowering her personal-best time in the 60m event to 7.39 in the semifinal round, Jackson inched it even lower in the finals, crossing the line in a time of 7.34. This time is the top in the America East this season and ranks tied for seventh in the NCAA. She needs to be ranked in the top-16 at the end of the season to make the NCAA Championships. Meanwhile, her winning time of 23.98 in the 200m competition is also the best in the conference while sitting in 33rd nationally.
The men also have a pair of impressive sprinters as seniors Dennison Long (Greenbelt, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt, FIU) and Trae Proctor (Brandywine, Md./Thomas Stone) lead the conference in the 60m dash and 60m hurdles, respectively. Long's top time of 6.88 came in early January at the Penn State Relays, but he nearly equaled it while finishing in tenth with a time of 6.90 on the same track last weekend. Proctor, meanwhile, became the first Retriever to ever go under eight seconds in the sprint hurdle event when he finished tied for third at the Gotham Cup in a time of 7.89. In addition to leading the conference, Proctor is tied for 23rd in the nation.
In the mid-distance, the Retrievers have two women currently placing in the top-five in both the 400m and 500m runs in the America East. Sophomore Paulette Fogle (Washington, D.C./Bishop McNamara) ranks third in both events with a 400m time of 57.24 and 500m time of 1:14.96, which she has recorded twice this season. Junior Kirsten Jones (Brentwood, Tenn./M.L.K. Magnet) sits just behind her teammate in fourth in the 400m (57.32) and fifth in the 500m (1:15.50).
UMBC will also send a strong distance contingent to New York, led by junior Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley) and sophomore Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion), both of whom have qualified for postseason meets in the 800m. Smith leads the America East with his IC4A-qualifying quarter-mile time of 1:54.66 at the Terrapin Invitation while Daly is fourth in the conference after her season-best time of 2:14.32 last week at Penn State to meet the ECAC standard.
The Retrievers have put together a strong throwing team this season with senior Amanda Deller (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen) pacing the women and the trio of senior Cameron McDearmon (Owings Mills, Md./Franklin), junior Yao Adantor (Laurel, Md./Reservoir/Morgan St./Maryland) and sophomore Thor Serafenas (Olney, Md./Good Counsel/Clemson) leading the men.
Deller, a three-time America East indoor shot put champion, leads the conference in the event after posting a personal-best toss of 15.00m (49'2.50") at the Penn State Nationals. She is also currently third in the weight throw with a season-best heave of 15.76m (51'10.00") at the Terrapin Invitational. Freshman Nneoma Edokobi (Rockville, Md./Richard Montgomery) and junior Emma Mayne (Mt. Airy, Md./Linganore) also rank in the top-ten in the shot put while freshman Jennifer Nelson (Plainfield, Conn./Plainfield) occupies seventh in the America East weight throw standings.
For the men, McDearmon, Adantor, and Serafenas all rank in the top-ten in the conference in both throwing events this season. McDearmon's weight throw of 18.38m (60'3.75") leads the team and ranks second in the America East while Serafenas and Adantor hold fifth and seventh place, respectively. In the shot put, Adantor's toss of 15.74m (51'7.75) at the Bison Opener leads the Retrievers and is third-best in the conference.
In the jumps, senior Shioma Obemeata (New Rochelle, N.Y./Iona Prep/St. Francis) leads the America East and has qualified for the IC4A meet with a triple jump distance of 14.71m (48'3.25"). Junior Mo Drammeh (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) continues to look to break the seven-foot barrier this season while sitting tied for third in the conference with a season-best height of 6'6.75" (2.00m).