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Individual and Relay Titles Push Women to Best-Ever Finish at America East Championships; Men Place Third
Most Outstanding Track Performer Mercedes Jackson
BOSTON – The UMBC track and field team won 11 event titles on the second day of the America East Championships as the women earned their best-ever finish at the conference meet, while the men matched their top finish since 2010, Tuesday at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. Head coach David Bobb and his staff was named the Women’s Coaching Staff of the Year after the top team finish.
With Albany claiming both of the team titles, the women finished in second-place and the men placed third with just Binghamton separating them from the Great Danes.
On the women’s side, the Great Danes scored 233.50 points to win the meet and the Retrievers claimed 131 points. Binghamton (124.50) and Vermont (91) followed in third and fourth place while New Hampshire (76.50), Maine (64.50), Stony Brook (44) and Hartford (15) rounded out the standings.
For the men, Albany (231.50) was trailed by Binghamton (134.50), UMBC (130), and Maine (126) in the top-half of the rankings. New Hampshire (74.50), Vermont (43.50), Stony Brook (33), and Hartford (6) claimed the remaining spots.
Both the men and women earned relay wins on the final day of the meet. The men’s team of junior Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley), freshmen Nick Johnson (Olney, Md./Sherwood) and Andrew Keresztes (Port Jefferson, N.Y./Port Jefferson), and junior Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley) won the 4x800 relay with a time of 7:46.18. Meanwhile, the women’s squad of sophomore Paulette Fogle (Washington, D.C./Bishop McNamara), sophomore Kalane’ Abbey (Laurel, Md./Laurel), freshman D’Nique Phillip (Elkton, Md.), and junior Kirsten Jones (Brentwood, Tenn./M.L.K Magnet) earned the top spot in the 4x400 relay with a time of 3:47.97.
The overall team effort was bolstered by many individuals who claimed titles as well as received meet honors. For the second straight year senior Amanda Deller (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen) was named the Most Outstanding Female Field Athlete after sweeping both throwing events again. Deller won the weight throw competition on Monday and followed it with her fourth career conference win in the shot put with a heave of 14.40m (47’3.00”). She was not alone at the top of the standings as freshman Nneoma Edokobi (Rockville, Md./Richard Montgomery) earned the bronze medal with a toss of 12.87m (42’2.75”). Junior Emma Mayne (Mt. Airy, Md./Linganore) and freshman Jennifer Nelson (Plainfield, Conn./Plainfield) finished fifth and eighth, respectively.
In the men’s event, junior Yao Adantor (Laurel, Md./Reservoir/Morgan St./Maryland) garnered a silver medal after registering a school record throw of 16.50m (54’1.75”). Sophomore Thor Serafenas (Olney, Md./Good Counsel/Clemson) also recorded a career-best toss, finishing fifth in the competition (15.68m; 51’5.50”).
Also in the field events, senior Shioma Obemeata (New Rochelle, N.Y./Iona Prep/St. Francis) took the top spot in the triple jump with a career-best leap. Obemeata bested the field by leaping 15.01m (49’3.00”) and moved to second all-time in the UMBC record book.
The sprinters provided top performances for the Retrievers and they were rewarded as senior Dennison Long (Greenbelt, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt/FIU) and sophomore Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) swept the Most Outstanding Track Athlete awards. Long and Jackson both won the 60m dash, as well as the 200m dash. Jackson and Deller tied along with two other athletes for the most points earned at the meet.
Senior Trae Proctor (Brandywine, Md./Thomas Stone) successfully defended his gold medal in the 60m hurdles to bring his career haul to three wins on the indoor track. The only Retriever to ever go under eight seconds in the event, Proctor recorded a new school-record time of 7.87 on Tuesday during his win.
In the heptathlon, freshman Vincent Rentzsch (Oranienburg, Germany) used a steady performance to score 4,786 points, the fifth-most in school history, and win a bronze medal. Sitting in third after the first day, Rentzsch took fourth in the 60m hurdles, eighth in the pole vault, and fifth in the 1,000m run to hold on to his spot in third.
The Retrievers also received top-ten finishes from Ebonique Jones (New Castle, Del./William Penn) in the 60m dash as well as Kirsten Jones and Phillip in the 200m dash. Ebonique Jones’ time of 7.71 was a personal-record and moves her into a tie for third all-time at UMBC. Kirsten Jones and Phillip, in addition to sophomore Abbey, also claimed top-ten spots in the 400m dash.
For the men, juniors Pat Balderson (Mount Airy, Md./Linganore) and Dosu Teyibo (Silver Spring, Md./Barrie) finished sixth and eighth in the 60m dash and freshman Niko Coaxum (Suitland, Md./Largo) placed ninth in the 400m dash.
Fogle continued the Retrievers’ success in the sprints by winning the 500m dash in school-record time. Fogle’s time of 1:13.69 bested the field by over two seconds and surpassed the previous UMBC record of 1:13.89 set by Latasha Best in 2007.
Smith, the top seed in the 800m run, paced UMBC in the distance events by winning the event with a time of 1:53.54. For the women, junior Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) finished third in a personal-best time of 2:14.69 with sophomore Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) placing eighth.
Keresztes and sophomore Mary Katherine Kulp (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal) both set personal-bests in the 1,000m run en route to top-five finishes. Keresztes won a silver medal and moved to second all-time at UMBC with a time of 2:28.32 while Kulp broke her previous best by almost two seconds with a time of 2:59.25.
With top-times and distances recorded throughout the season, selected Retrievers will return to Boston on the first weekend of March for the IC4A and ECAC Championship meets.
Men's coaching staff -- Roberto Vives, Albany
Male outstanding rookie -- Temi Bajulaiye, Binghamton
MOP (Field) -- Alexander Bowen, Albany
MOP (Track) -- Dennison Long, UMBC
Coaches' Award (Most Points) -- Jonathan Santana, Albany
Women's coaching staff -- David Bobb, UMBC
Most Outstanding Rookie -- Christy DiMichele, Binghamton
MOP (Field) -- Amanda Deller, UMBC
MOP (Track) -- Mercedes Jackson, UMBC
Coaches' Award (Most Points) -- Four way tie (Jackson, Deller, Conner, Fanning)