BALTIMORE – After hosting a rain-shortened Big Dawg Invitational last weekend at UMBC Stadium, the Retriever track and field program heads south on I-95 to compete at the Pepsi Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fla. and the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg, Va. Both meets will run from Friday, April 4 through the evening of Saturday, April 5.
Elite sprinters and throwers will make their way to Florida while the record-breaking distance teams search for more success in Virginia.
Multiple Retrievers turned in victorious and personal record-breaking performances in front of their home fans in Baltimore. Junior Alisha Beeman (Bridgeport, Conn./Bunnell/Hartford) won the high jump for the second-straight meet last weekend, clearing 1.60m (5'3") on her home track. Two weeks ago at the FSU Relays, the junior claimed the school record in the javelin (41.92m; 137'6") and she will try to better that upon her return to the Sunshine State this weekend.
Sophomore Vincent Rentzsch (Oranienburg, Germany/Elite Sportschule Potsdam) will compete in the men's javelin event, looking to build back to NCAA form. Last season, Rentzsch qualified for the national outdoor meet in Oregon with a career-best toss of 70.88m (232'6") and started his year with a heave of 66.09m (216'10") in Tallahassee. He took the top spot in the event both at FSU and last weekend in Baltimore.
Fellow 2013 NCAA participant Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) travels south with the Retrievers to compete in the 100m and 200m dash events in Florida. The school record holder in both events, Jackson has qualified for the ECAC Championships in May in both races and won the 100m dash last week at UMBC Stadium.
Senior sprinter Dennison Long (Greenbelt, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt/FIU) and hurdler Trae Proctor (Brandywine, Md./Thomas Stone) will also travel to Florida, and are entered respectively in the 100m dash and 110m hurdles. Long opened his season two weeks ago at the FSU Relays with IC4A-worthy times in the 100m (10.57) and 200m (21.09), while Proctor met the IC4A standard in the 110m hurdles (14.14) and was just off of his school record pace of 14.12 at FSU.
The Retriever men's throwing team will be well-represented in Gainesville as seniors Yao Adantor (Laurel, Md./Reservoir/Morgan State/Maryland) and Ray Stinsman III (Mt. Laurel, N.J./Lenape), as well as sophomore Thor Serafenas (Olney, Md./Good Counsel/Clemson) join Rentzsch. Adantor, the school record holder in the shot put (16.60m; 54'5.5") was just off his career-best at FSU (16.59m; 54'5.25") and will compete in the event this weekend. Serafenas and Stinsman, meanwhile, will take to the hammer throw after taking first and third last weekend. Serafenas holds the top Retriever mark in the event (57.26m; 187'10") while Stinsman ranks seventh all-time (50.75m; 166'6").
Junior Paulette Fogle (Washington, D.C./Bishop McNamara), the school record holder in the 400m hurdles, will hit the track in her specialty this weekend. She competed in the event back on March 22 in Tallahassee, finishing ninth with a time of 1:08.30.
In Virginia, the distance crew looks to continue its record-breaking ways after claiming seven combined records during the indoor season.
Senior Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley), who broke the 800m record three times during the indoor season and advanced to the NCAA Championships, will run in the 400m event this weekend in Williamsburg. He currently holds the third-fastest time in school history in the outdoor 800m (1:52.19) and tenth-best outdoor 1,500m time (3:56.29) and will now try to jump onto the 400m list.
Senior Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley) leads a trio of Retrievers in the men's 5,000 event while junior Julie Gessler (Ellicott City, Md./Institute of Notre Dame) will compete in the women's race. Albino recorded a career-best time of 15:01.10 at the FSU relays to jump to sixth in the record book and will look to climb higher this weekend.
In the 10k, sophomore Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) currently holds the second-fastest time in program history (30:39.70) and will try to capture his third UMBC record after taking over the top mark in the 3k and 5k indoors.
Senior Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) and junior Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) have both already turned in career-best performances in the 1,500m run this season, claiming third and fourth, respectively, in the school record book. Mezebish clocked in at 4:39.46 during an eighth-place finish at the FSU Relays and Daly was just a shade behind at 4:39.58 last weekend at the Big Dawg Invitational.