BALTIMORE – The UMBC track and field team continues its indoor season this weekend by splitting up to compete at both the Penn State Nationals in University Park, Pa. and the Patriot Games at George Mason in Fairfax, Va. Both meets start on Friday, Jan. 31 and continue through Saturday, Feb. 1.
The Retriever women's squad was recently ranked No. 13 in the first Mid-Atlantic Region poll of the season by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The team has three athletes who have already qualified for the ECAC Championships, led by junior Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) who met the regional standard for the 60m and 200m dash events. She currently leads the America East in the 60m dash (7.48) while ranking second in the 200m event (24.78). Jackson will compete in the both events at Penn State this weekend.
Junior Alisha Beeman (Bridgeport, Conn./Bunnell/Hartford) broke the school record in the high jump two weeks ago at the Terrapin Invitational. Beeman cleared 1.71m (5'0.75") to earn UMBC's top mark and qualify for the ECACs. She will compete in the pentathlon this weekend in Pennsylvania.
Senior Kirsten Jones (Brentwood, Tenn./M.L.K. Magnet) rounds out the Retriever trio, having reached the ECAC mark in the 500m run at the Penn State Relays on Jan. 11 with a time of 1:15.60. Her time ranks second in the America East this season with junior Paulette Fogle (Washington, D.C./Bishop McNamara) right behind in third. Jones also ranks seventh in the conference in the 200m dash with her time of 25.34 at last week's NYU Team Challenge. This weekend, Jones will run in the 200m and 400m races at PSU, with Fogle competing in the 500m event.
In the 800m run last weekend, junior Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) and senior Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) finished one-two and took over the top spots in the league rankings. Mezebish also broke the school record in the 1,000m run earlier this year with her time of 2:56.58 at the Penn State Relays. Both will race in the 800m competition in the Keystone State on Saturday morning.
In the throws, sophomore Nneoma Edokobi (Rockville, Md./Richard Montgomery) sits second in the weight throw (15.26m; 50'0.75") and third in the shot put (12.91m; 42'4.25") in the conference heading into the weekend. She will compete in the weight throw on Friday evening at Penn State and the shot put on Saturday afternoon.
The distance team has paced the Retriever men early in the season with senior Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley) and Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) each breaking a school record and qualifying for the IC4A Championships last weekend in New York. Smith's 800m mark of 1:51.30 put him atop the conference standings, in addition to the UMBC record list, while Omar ranks third in the conference in the 3,00m run (8:23.50). Smith has also qualified for the regional meet in the 1,000m run this season, but will race in the 800m at Penn State while Omar will compete in the 5,000m run.
Senior Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley) also met his second qualifying standard last week in the Big Apple, posting a career-best mile time of 4:10.23. Earlier in the year he met the mark for the 1,000m run (2:26.27) and will run in the mile this weekend.
At the first meet of the season, sophomore Randolph Patrice (Baltimore, Md.) produced the top UMBC time of the year in the 60m dash, 6.98, to qualify for the IC4A meet. He currently ranks tied for fourth in the America East.
Junior Thor Serafenas (Only, Md./Good Counsel/Clemson) competed for just the second time last week, registering a top season weight throw of 15.91m (52'2.50") which sits him eighth in the conference rankings. He will look to improve his standing in the event, as well as the shot put, in Happy Valley this weekend.