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Track and Field Hosts First Meet in Two Years with Saturday’s Big Dawg Invitational
Senior Denny Long
BALTIMORE – Two years after the America East Championships came to Baltimore, and ten years since this meet’s latest incarnation, the UMBC Big Dawg Invitational will be held at UMBC Stadium on Saturday with the hammer, javelin, high jump, long jump, and pole vault competitions kicking things off at 10:00 a.m.
The UMBC track and field teams last hosted the Big Dawg Invitational on Mar. 22, 2003 with ten schools coming to Baltimore. This time around the Retrievers welcome Bowie State, Bucknell, Coppin State, Howard Community College, Lincoln (Pa.), and Morgan State to campus for the meet.
The Big Dawg Invitational will be streamed live on UMBCRetrievers.tv, beginning at 11:00 a.m. with the 4x100 relay race, and will include multiple camera angles and live commentary.
After an elite group of Retriever athletes started the spring season at the Florida State Relays in Tallahassee, Fla. last weekend, the Big Dawg Invitational serves as the opener for the team as a whole.
Last weekend, the Retrievers were headlined by a trio of field athletes whom registered record-breaking performances in the Sunshine State. On the first day of the meet, freshman Vincent Rentzsch (Oranienburg, Germany) broke the UMBC school record and finished third in the javelin competition with a toss of 58.83m (193’00”). His throw qualifies him for the IC4A meet which will be held at Princeton in May.
Also on the first day, but in the hammer throw, senior Amanda Deller (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen) and sophomore Thor Serafenas (Olney, Md./Good Counsel/Clemson) set new personal-bests, moving up to second and third all-time, in their respective school ranks.
All of the throwers will compete in the discus event this weekend, while each athlete will also take part in his or her top competition.
Named the America East Most Outstanding Track Athlete at the indoor championships in February, senior Dennison Long (Greenbelt, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt/FIU) leads a deep group of sprinters. Long won both the 60m and 100m dash events at the conference meet, and began his outdoor campaign by finishing the 11th in the 200m dash at FSU with a personal-best time of 21.80. Juniors Pat Balderson (Mount Airy, Md./Linganore) and Dosu Teyibo (Silver Spring, Md./Barrie), both of whom made the 60m finals indoors, look to provide more depth as the Retrievers head outside.
Senior Trae Proctor (Brandywine, Md./Thomas Stone) won the 60m hurdles in Boston for the third straight year and now looks to recapture his outdoor title after not competing a year ago in Maine.
The women’s group of sprinters looks to be even deeper, supporting Second Team All-American Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown). Jackson took 13th at the NCAA Championships in the 60m dash after winning the event, in addition to the 100m dash, at the conference meet. The sophomore is the school record holder in the 100m and 200m dash events outdoors.
Junior Kirsten Jones (Brentwood, Tenn./M.L.K. Magnet) finished the indoor season with a flourish and opened the spring last weekend in Tallahassee. After claiming the school record in the 400m dash at the ECAC championships, and anchoring the 4x400 relay team to a new mark, Jones looks to improve on her standing outside in the 200m (4th) and 400m (2nd).
The distance group will be out in full force this weekend with many athletes making their first appearance in competition since the cross country season. Junior Vinny DiSalvo (Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville) will open in the day’s first track event, the 3,000m steeplechase, and will be joined by freshmen Redatu Semeon (Waldorf, Md./Thomas Stone) and Austin Hayslett (Mount Airy, Md./Urbana). Junior Tom Eldridge (Rocky River, Ohio/Rocky River) and Brandan McGee (Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood) will make their season debuts in the 5,000m. McGee earned All-Conference status during the cross country season for finishing seventh at the America East meet, and competed at last year’s NCAA East Preliminary in the 3,000m steeplechase.
For the women, 800m specialists Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) and Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) will take part in the 400m dash while sophomore Mary Katherine Kulp (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal) will run in the 400m hurdles.