UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – UMBC senior distance runner Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) broke the school record in the 1,000m run and junior Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) and sophomore Angelina Oputa (Bowie, Md./Elizabeth Seton) also broke into the top-ten as the UMBC track and field team opened 2014 at the Penn State Relays.
Mezebish highlighted a successful day for the Retrievers as senior Kirsten Jones (Brentwood, Tenn./M.L.K. Magnet) and junior Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) qualified for the ECAC Championships to be held in Boston in March. For the men, three athletes broke into the top-ten in the school record book.
Already the holder of the number three spot in school history for the 800m, Mezebish snapped the previous school record in the 1,000m by almost two seconds. The senior crossed the line with a time of 2:56.58, finishing ahead of Yasmin Field's record of 2:58.53 set back in 2004. Daly and Oputa also registered career-bests in the event with Daly's time of 2:59.14 sending her to third and Oputa's mark of 3:04.04 moving her up to eighth.
After skipping the season-opening Bison Opener back in December, Jackson made her season debut by placing second in the 60m dash. Her finals time of 7.48 meets the standard for the ECAC meet while she also qualified in the 200m after finishing third in a time of 24.78.
Jones also advanced to the regional meet, crossing the line in the 500m with a time of 1:15.6. In the men's event, Erick Soetje (Clarksville, Md./River Hill) earned a place in the school's top-ten list by crossing the line at the 1:05.71.
The women's 4x400 relay also achieved the ECAC standard as the squad of Jones, freshman Mercedes Tillman (Waldorf, Md./North Point), senior Deborah Adelola (Lanham, Md./Bladensburg), and junior Paulette Fogle (Washington, D.C./Bishop McNamara) finished with a time of 3:50.42.
Senior Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley) placed second in the mile with the seventh-best time in school history (4:17.18). Sophomore Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) earned a second-place finish in the 3,000m run with a time of 8:30.71, the sixth-fastest in program history. Senior Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley), meanwhile, finished just back in fourth with a time of 8:37.63.
Sophomore Caitlyn Davis (Clarksville, Md./River Hill) matched her career-best in the pole vault by clearing 3.00m (9'10.00").
The Retrievers return to competition next week with the Terrapin Invitational in Landover, Md.