Baltimore, Md.—UMBC track and field opens the season this weekend up at Penn State. Last season the women finished second both indoor and outdoor, while the men finished fifth in the indoor season and second outdoor. The 2015-16 season gets started at the Penn State Relays on Saturday, Jan. 9 in State College, Pa.
What: Penn State Relays
Where: Ashenfelter III Indoor Track – State College, Pa.
When: Saturday, Jan. 9 – 10:00 a.m.
Quick Hits on Last Year:
The 2014-15 Retriever track and field teams saw a lot of success both on and off the track. Several Dawgs went on to postseason racing, including Vincent Rentzsch (Oranienburg, Germany/Elite Sportschule Potsdam) who went on to compete at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore. in the javelin.
The Retriever women earned a pair of second place finishes at the America East Championships. The indoor season saw UMBC earn their best finish in program history, thanks to strong senior leadership. During the indoor season, UMBC athletes broke several school records, and shattered a couple America East records.
Senior track athlete Mercedes Jackson paced the Retriever women, setting the school and America East record in the 200m dash with a time of 23.81. Classmate Paulette Fogle shattered the 500m dash record, recording a time of 1:12.78.
For the men, senior Yao Adantor led the charge, breaking school records in the field. Adantor broke his own shot put record multiple times, with the best toss coming at 17.16m.
At the America East Championships, the men took home fifth place, while the women took second, their best finish in program history. Mercedes Jackson was named Most Outstanding Track Performer, while also being co-winner of the Coaches' Award for most points scored. Coach David Bobb and his staff earned Women's Co-Coaching Staff of the Year.
At the ECAC/IC4A meet, Jackson won ECAC Most Outstanding Performer after winning the 60m dash at the meet.
The UMBC outdoor track and field teams produced an exceptional spring season with the men and women finishing second at the 2015 America East Championships.
The Retrievers opened the year with the annual Big Dawg Invitational at UMBC Stadium on March 28, where both the men and women won the meet.
Several records were broken throughout the year, with ten women's and a pair of men's records falling in 2015.
Senior Mercedes Jackson shattered both the school and America East records in the 100m and 200m dashes, earning gold in both events. Her efforts landed her Most Outstanding Track Performer for the fourth time in her illustrious career.
A trio of Retrievers competed in NCAA Preliminaries. Omar represented UMBC in the 5,000m run, junior Vincent Rentzsch in the javelin and senior Paulette Fogle in the 400m hurdles.
Rentzsch qualified for the NCAA Finals in the javelin throw, where he landed in 21st place in the national meet.
For the Retriever women, the team will look to replace Mercedes Jackson, who helped lead the team to new heights in 2014-15. Jackson broke several records last season, and earned America East Most Outstanding Track Athlete for both indoor and outdoor, while also being named ECAC Most Oustanding Track Performer. The Retrievers will also look to replace Kalane Abbey, Alisha Beeman and Paulette Fogle, all of whom have school records.
The men will have to replace Yao Adantor, who broke the school record in the shot put last season. Yao was also a finalist for the America East Man of the Year in 2015. He went on to break his native Togo's record in the shot put this past summer.
Other key losses include Jake Dibattista, Noah Hutton, John Rybak and Eric Schuler.
The women's team will feature six new Retrievers. Yinka Alabi (Milford Mill, Md.), Erin Patrice (Baltimore, Md.), Kara Patrice (Baltimore, Md.), and Amani Wallace (Baltimore, Md.) will compete in sprint events. Two cross country runners, Alexis Bartelloni (Morganville, N.J.) and Kelsey Ponton (Laurel, Md.) will head to the track in distance events.
The men will see 11 newcomers, including eight cross country runners who will participate in distance events. Carl Freund (Ellicott City, Md.), Matthew Kane (Sykesville, Md.), Matt Kingeter (Glencoe, Md.), Nathan Nadal (Silver Spring, Md.), Lorenzo Neil (Silver Spring, Md.), Eric Smart (Columbia, Md.), Urgy Eado (Rockville, Md.), and Nick Wardell (Ellicott City, Md.) will head to the track in distance events after a fifth place finish in cross country in the fall. Other newcomers include Jamal Cody (Hereford, Md.), Christian Kallenber (Germany) and Kyle Kulp (Vestal, N.Y.) who will join the Retrievers this winter/spring.
The Retriever men will see both Rentzsch and Hassan Omar return for their senior seasons. Both men qualified for the NCAA's a season ago. Other key men's returners include Austin Hayslett (Mount Airy, Md./Urbana), Jon Luckin (Parkton, Md./Hereford), Daryian Miles (Teaneck, N.J./Teaneck/St. Francis U), and Isahq Rana (Baltimore, Md.).
On the women's side, junior Sophia Cologer (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck), as well as Nneoma and Ozi Edokobi (Rockville, Md./Richard Montgomery) return to help push the Retrievers to the top of the America East. Other key returners include Essence Fredericks (Baltimore, Md./Carver Center), Mary Katherine Kulp (Vestal, N.Y./Vestal), Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion), and Mercedes Tillman (Waldorf, Md./North Point).
The Retrievers will head to the Ocean Breeze Complex in Staten Island, N.Y. for the Great Dane Classic on Saturday, Jan. 16. The meet will be hosted by Albany, and will serve as a preview for the America East Indoor Championships, which will be held at the same venue later in the winter.