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Elite Group of Retrievers Heads to Princeton for IC4A and ECAC Championships
Sophomore Paulette Fogle
BALTIMORE – An elite group of 20 Retrievers will head to Princeton to represent the UMBC track and field teams at the IC4A and ECAC Championships this weekend in New Jersey. The three-day meet will commence on Friday, May 10 with the women’s heptathlon and run through Sunday.
After posting a program-best second-place finish at last week’s America East Championships at Binghamton, the UMBC men’s team jumped to ninth in the USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic rankings, up from 12th the previous week.
Senior Dennison Long (Greenbelt, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt/FIU) led the Retrievers at the meet and was named the conference’s Most Outstanding Male Track Performer and earned the Coaches’ Award. The sprinter won the 100m and 200m dash events, and anchored UMBC to a photo-finish win in the 4x100 in a conference-record time of 41.00. Long will compete in the 200m dash this weekend after qualifying at the Florida State Relays with a time of 21.80, and posting a season-best 21.14 at the Mason Spring Invitational.
Long will once again anchor the relay team this weekend with junior Pat Balderson (Mount Airy, Md./Linganore), Jenove Blanfort, and senior Trae Proctor (Brandywine, Md./Thomas Stone) leading things off. Proctor will also compete in the 110m hurdles for the Retrievers. During the invitational season, the senior qualified for the IC4A meet at the FSU Relays (14.72), broke the 38-yeard old school record at the Mason Spring Invitational (14.12), and won the gold medal at the America East meet.
America East champion Andrew Keresztes (Port Jefferson, N.Y./Port Jefferson) will look to replicate his last time on the track when he competes in the 800m run on Saturday. The freshman posted a career-best time of 1:51.24 to win the race last weekend and move to second all-time at UMBC.
Junior Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley) ran a school-record time in the 1,500m finals last weekend for a fourth-place finish and will represent the Retrievers in the event at Princeton.
Freshman Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) took the conference title in the 10,000m run last weekend and will compete in New Jersey, having qualified with his race-winning time of 30:54.82 at the Duke Invitational.
A trio of Retrievers head to the Garden State in the throws after a medal-filled weekend in Vestal. Freshman Vincent Rentzsch (Oranienburg, Germany) won javelin event, as well as the decathlon, to claim his first two career gold medals. His javelin win comes after breaking the UMBC school record in the event four times during the spring, with his top throw of 65.40m (214’7”) coming at the Morgan State Legacy Meet.
Sophomore Thor Serafenas (Olney, Md./Good Counsel/Clemson) took top honors in the discus last weekend, a day after missing out on the gold in the hammer by one inch. He will compete in both events at Princeton after recording a school-record hammer throw of 56.85m (186’6) and career-best discus heave of 48.29m (158’5”) at the Big Dawg Invitational on Mar. 30. Serafenas will also take part in the shot put along with conference silver-medal winning Yao Adantor (Laurel, Md./Reservoir/Morgan St./Maryland) who holds the school record with a toss of 16.60m (54’5.5”).
Junior Mo Drammeh (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) earned a trip to Princeton for the high jump by clearing 2.04m (6’8.25”) at George Mason.
The Retriever women held on to their 20th place ranking after a finishing fourth at the conference meet. Senior Amanda Deller (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen) and sophomore Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) paced UMBC in New York by sweeping the Top Female Performer awards with Deller also being tabbed for the Coaches’ Award.
Deller completed her career sweep of the shot put at Binghamton, winning the event for the eighth time in eight America East competitions – indoor and outdoor. She won competition with a career-best toss of 14.84m (48’8.25”) after posting a top career throw to take the discus title. She will enter both events this weekend, having qualified for the shot at the Morgan State meet and just last weekend for the discus.
Jackson earned her second and third career individual outdoor conference golds last weekend, winning the 100m and 200m races. The school record holder in both events, the sprinter will run the 100m at Princeton and look to improve on her time of 11.57 which sits tied for 26th in the NCAA East Region.
Freshman D’Nique Phillip (Elkton, Md.) will run in the 200m competition after qualifying with her career-best time of 24.51 at the Big Dawg meet. Junior Kirsten Jones (Brentwood, Tenn./M.L.K. Magnet), meanwhile, will run in the 400m dash.
After setting personal-bests on back-to-back days in Vestal, school record holder Paulette Fogle (Washington D.C./Bishop McNamara) will run in the 400m hurdles. Initially qualifying for this weekend’s meet at the Duke Invitational with a time of 1:01.64, Fogle has trimmed her best down to 1:00.83.
A pair of freshmen will hit the track in the 10,000m run with Nicole Dawson (Jessup, Md./Hammond) and Harmony Roche (Millersville, Md./Severn School) making the trip up I-95. Dawson and Roche took ninth and 11th, respectively, last week at Binghamton.
In addition, a four-some of Fogle, Phillip, sophomore Kalane’ Abbey (Laurel, Md./Laurel), junior Deborah Adelola (Lanham, Md./Bladensburg), and sophomore Briana Young (Bowie, Md./Elizabeth Seton) will compete in the 4x400m relay. The team of Abbey, Adelola, Jones, and Fogle broke the school record (3:45.98) in a second-place finish last week.