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Six Top-Flight Retrievers Head to Tar Heel State for NCAA East Preliminaries
Sophomore Mercedes Jackson
BALTIMORE – Six of the top UMBC track and field athletes will head to Greensboro, N.C. for the NCAA East Region Preliminaries which begin Thursday at North Carolina A&T’s Irwin Bell Track at Aggie Stadium. The three-day meet will kick off with the men’s discus at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday and run through Saturday evening.
The top-12 athletes from each event will advance to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships to be held in Eugene, Ore. from June 5-8 at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.
Sophomore sprinter Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) headlines the group for UMBC after another stellar season. Jackson makes the trip to the NCAA East Prelims for the second-straight year after winning the America East title in both the 100- and 200m dash events, and then taking gold at the ECAC Championships in the 100m event. She is seeded 19th in the 100m race with her school-record time 11.51 from the ECAC meet, and 23rd in 200m from her gold-medal winning time of 23.58 at the conference meet at Binghamton.
Senior Amanda Deller (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen) also returns to the regional meet for the second year in a row after taking part in the shot put competition last year in Jacksonville, Fla. Now an eight-time America East champion in the shot put, Deller completed her sweep of the conference titles back in April with a career-best toss of 14.84m (48’8.25”). This distance seeds Deller 44th for her trip to Tobacco Road.
A four-some of male athletes, all of whom won a conference title in April, will lead the Retriever contingent in Greensboro.
Senior Dennison Long (Greenbelt, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt), who swept the sprint events and anchored the 4x100 relay team to a gold at the America East meet, travels to North Carolina for the 100m dash in which he is seeded 31st. Long set a career-best mark of 10.39 to win the Mason Spring Invitational and move up to second all-time in UMBC program history, behind only current head coach David Bobb.
A two-time conference winner in the 110m hurdles, senior Trae Proctor (Brandywine, Md./Thomas Stone) will also head south based on his time from the George Mason meet. Proctor’s mark of 11.12 broke a 38-year old school record and moved him into the top-48 for the East Prelims.
In the throws, sophomore Thor Serafenas (Olney, Md./Good Counsel/Clemson) and freshman Vincent Rentzsch (Oranienburg, Germany) have each impressed during their first season with the Black and Gold. Both athletes broke school records in their first-ever home meet, the Big Dawg Invitational, with Serafenas claiming the hammer title and Rentzsch upping his mark in the javelin.
After originally breaking the mark with a heave of 56.85m (186’6) at the home meet, Serafenas bettered his career-best to 57.26m (187’10”) while earning a top-ten finish at the IC4A meet at Princeton and sneaking into the field in Greensboro.
Rentzsch, meanwhile, started the record-breaking in his very first outdoor meet for the Retrievers, the Florida State Relays, and proceeded to reset his standard three more times during the year. Prior to winning both the javelin and decathlon titles at the America East Championships to earn Most Outstanding Rookie accolades, Rentzsch posted a career-best throw of 65.40m (214’7”) to win the javelin competition at the cross-town Morgan State Legacy Meet and received the 33rd seed at this weekend’s competition.