BALTIMORE – The UMBC track and field squads travel to the University of Maine this weekend for the America East Championships. The last time Maine hosted the a conference championship meet was in 2008 when the Retriever men finished third and then women finished fourth in the indoor championships.
Both the men and women have had record breaking seasons outside after finishing fifth and third, respectively, at the indoor championships in February.
After being named the Most Outstanding Rookie at the indoor meet, freshman Mercedes Jackson (Huntington, Md./Huntington) looks to claim another gold medal after taking top honors in the 60m dash in February. At Maine she will be competing in the 100m and 200m dash in which she is in range of the top All-Time Performances in America East history in both events.
Last weekend at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Jackson teamed with sophomore Ebonique Jones (New Castle, Del./William Penn), freshman Briana Young (Bowie, Md./Elizabeth Seton) and sophomore Kirsten Jones (Brentwood, Tenn./M.L.K. Magnet) to break the UMBC record in the 4x200 relay twice. On Friday, the combination put its name in the record book with a time of 1:39.81 and then bettered the mark on Saturday by finishing in 1:38.04.
The 4x200 squad was not the only relay team to set a new record at Penn as freshman Paulette Fogle (Washington, D.C./Bishop McNamara), senior Lauren Leclercq (Jessup, Md./Meade) and sophomores Deborah Adelola (Lanham, Md./Bladensburg) and Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) set a new school mark in the sprint medley. The Retrievers' time of 4:04.37 broke the UMBC record of 4:06.36 which was set last season in 2011.
In the field events, UMBC will look to junior Amanda Deller (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen) to lead the squad. At the indoor championships in Boston, Deller earned the title of Most Outstanding Field Performer after claiming the gold medal in both the shot put and weight throw. Last weekend at the Penn Relays, she opened with competition with a toss of 14.38m (47'2.25") in the shot put to finish fifth in the Eastern Division. Deller is a five-time conference champion in this event (indoor and outdoor) and will also compete in the discus and hammer at the outdoor championships.
Deller will be pushed by teammate Chrissy Robinson (Lusby, Md./Patuxent) who now ranks fourth in school history in the shot after recording a toss of 13.18m (43'3') in Philadelphia.
For the men, sophomore Brandan McGee (Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood) leads the charge and the track and is currently third all-time in school history in the steeplechase. His time of 9:12.43 at the Larry Ellis Invitation two weeks ago places him in the running to earn an NCAA East Region bid as well as a conference title.
Entering the meet as a top contender, indoor triple jump runner-up junior Shioma Obemeata (New Rochelle, N.Y./Iona Prep/St. Francis) will be competing for the conference title as well. Last week at Penn, Obemeata was one of two male Retriever field athletes to earn top-15 finishes along with classmate Cameron McDearmon (Owings Mills, Md./Franklin). Obemeata took 11th in the triple jump with a leap of 14.07m (46'2"), while McDearmon's toss of 52.04m (170'8") earned him 13th in the shot put.
The America East outdoor championships begin Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and continue through the day until the awards ceremonies on Sunday evening.