BALTIMORE – After having a little over a week off from competition, the UMBC track and field teams head to Boston, Mass. for the 2013 America East Indoor Track and Field Championships. Held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, the championships will take place over a two-day span from Monday, Feb. 11th through February 12th.
Both teams look for an overall improvement in the standings from last year when the women placed third, while the men took fifth place. Last year, the Retrievers were paced by Amanda Deller (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen) and Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown), who each won an event and earned Most Outstanding Female Filed Performer and Most Outstanding Rookie honors, respectively.
Both Deller and Jackson have recorded strong invitational seasons in 2012-13, earning personal-bests along the way. Deller, a three-time conference indoor shot put champion and last year's weight throw champion as well, currently leads the America East in the shot after her personal-best toss of 15.00m (49'2.50") at the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York. Meanwhile, the senior currently ranks third in the conference in the weight throw, with her season-best mark of 15.80m (51'10.00) coming at the Terrapin Invitational on Jan. 19.
For Jackson, it has been a stellar sophomore season so far after breaking onto the season last year as a freshman. The UMBC record holder in both the 60m dash and 200m dash, Jackson looks to claim gold medals in both events after winning the 60m event but finishing second in the 200m dash in 2012. This season, Jackson has broken both of her school records this season and is the top seed in the conference in both events, with her season-best 60m dash time of 7.34 currently in NCAA Championships contention.
For the men, a trio of Retrievers has paced the squad in the throws with senior Cameron McDearmon(Owings Mills, Md./Franklin) providing leadership and experience. McDearmon looks to earn his first conference title after earning bronze medals in both throwing events as a sophomore and finishing in sixth in both last season. The senior sits in second-place in the weight throw heading into the conference meet with his heave of 18.38m (60'3.75") at the Terrapin Invite, while sitting in seventh in the shot put. Junior Yao Adantor (Laurel, Md./Reservoir/Morgan St./Maryland) and sophomore Thor Serafenas (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) also had successful invitational seasons, ranking three-four in the shot put and then occupying sixth and fourth-place, respectively in the weight throw.
Back on the track, senior Trae Proctor (Brandywine, Md./Thomas Stone) looks to win the 60m hurdles for the third consecutive year at the America East Championships. This season, Proctor became the first Retriever to ever go under the eight-second barrier in the event while setting a new school record with a time of 7.89. Fellow senior, Dennison Long (Greenbelt, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt/FIU) looks to join Proctor atop the medal stand after maintaining strong form in both the 60m dash and 200m dash. Both athletes currently lead the America East in their respective events.
Meanwhile in the jumps, senior Shioma Obemeata (New Rochelle, N.Y./Iona Prep/St. Prep) will try for the elusive gold medal in the triple jump after winning silver last year. Obemeata leads the conference heading to Boston after his career-best leap of 14.80m (48'6.75") at the Armory a little over a week ago.
The Retriever men will look to a young, but productive group to earn points in the longer sprints and distance events. Junior Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley) leads the conference in the 800m run with a converted time of 1:53.05, while freshman Andrew Keresztes (Port Jefferson, N.Y./Port Jefferson) is seeded fifth in the 1,000m run. The Retrievers also have at least one athlete seeded in the top-ten in the distance events as junior Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley) and Noah Hutton will compete in the one-mile run, sophomore Eric Schuler (Columbia, Md./Reservoir) will race the 3,000m run, and freshman Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) and junior Vinny DiSalvo (Washingtonville, N.Y./Washingtonville) will lead the charge in the 5,000m run.
Junior John Rybak (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Curley) and freshman Vincent Rentzsch (Oranienburg, Germany) will compete for the Retrievers in the Heptathlon. Last year, Rybak finished in ninth place in the seven-event competition.
Behind Jackson and Deller, the Retriever women will try to bolster the team effort in the longer sprint events. In the 200m dash, junior Kristen Jones (Brentwood, Tenn./M.L.K. Magnet) and freshman D'Nique Phillip (Elkton, Md.) are both seeded in the top-five, while they are both joined by sophomores Kalane'Abbey (Laurel, Md./Laurel) and Briana Young (Bowie, Md./Elizabeth Seton) in the top-ten for the 400m run. Sophomore Paulette Fogle (Washington, D.C./Bishop McNamara) will try to improve on her eighth place finish last year in the 500m dash and holds the top seed with her career-best time of 1:14.96.
The women's 4x400 relay team which earned a bronze medal at last year's America East Championship, looks to move up the medal stand this season as well. The team of Fogle, Abbey, Phillip, and Jones broke the school record at the Armory a week ago with a time of 3:46.97, and is seeded second heading to Boston.
Junior Emma Mayne (Mt. Ariy, Md./Linganore), and freshmen Nneoma Edokobi (Rockville, Md./Richard Montgomery) and Jennifer Nelson (Plainfield, Conn./Plainfield) lead the charge in the throws to support Deller. Mayne ranks fourth in the shot put and Nelson is sixth in the weight throw, while Edokobi holds a top-ten seed in both events.
The championship meet kicks off on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. with the women's heptathlon. The afternoon session then restarts at 3:00 p.m. with the men's 5,000m run.