GREENSBORO, N.C. – UMBC freshman Vincent Rentzsch (Oranienburg, Germany) shattered his own school record in the javelin and earned a spot at the NCAA Championships in Oregon, Friday afternoon at North Carolina A&T's Irwin Bell Track at Aggie Stadium. Sophomore Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) also advanced to the national meet, earning a spot in the 100m dash.
Rentzsch becomes just the fifth UMBC athlete to ever make it to the NCAA Track and Field Championships, following in the footsteps of current head coach David Bobb, Cleopatra Borel, Huguens Jean, and Jackson who participated at the indoor meet in March and will join Rentzsch on the trip west. This is the first time in school history that UMBC will send two athletes to the same NCAA meet.
In the preliminary round on Friday, Rentzsch took the top spot in Flight 1, and 14th overall with his career-best toss of 67.41m (221'2"). In the finals, needing to gain a top-12 spot, the Retriever freshman slipped into 15th after the first two rounds. But with his final heave of the competition he tacked another 11 feet on to his school record to jump to fifth overall with a distance of 70.88m (232'6"). In addition to earning a trip to Oregon for the NCAA meet, Rentzsch also gained a spot at the German National Championships to be held July 6-7.
Jackson advances to Oregon after taking third in heat three of the 100m dash, despite finishing 17th overall. The sophomore standout moves on to the national meet with a time of 11.53 in the race, behind Octavious Freeman (11.10) of Central Florida and Dezerea Bryant (11.26) from Clemson.
Jackson also competed in the 200m dash on Friday evening, taking fourth in heat six, just missing out on advancing to Saturday's finals. Jackson (24.00) was barely beat out by Georgia's Tynia Gaither (23.64) to claim the final spot in the heat.
In the men's 110m hurdles, senior Trae Proctor (Brandywine, Md./Thomas Stone) ran his second-fastest time of the year (14.28) to finish sixth in heat six and 37th overall. Terrence Somerville from Cincinnati paced the field in the prelims with a time of 13.37. Proctor broke the 38-year old UMBC school record earlier this year with his run of 14.12 at the Mason Spring Invitational on Apr. 13 which seeded him 44th for the NCAA East Regionals.
The final day of the three-day regional meet begins Saturday morning with the men's hammer throw at 11:00 a.m. Sophomore Thor Serafenas (Olney, Md./Good Counsel/Clemson) will take part in the competition with senior Amanda Deller (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen) participating in the women's shot put at approximately 5:30 p.m.