Track and field keeps up with nation’s best

Zachary Holden
Staff Writer

Over the weekend, the men and women of the track and field team traveled down to Gainesville, Fla. to compete in the prestigious Florida Relays.

The three-day event started with high school competitions on Thursday, then intertwined high school and collegiate events on Friday and Saturday. The annual event pitted the best athletes in the country against each other.

On Friday in the first collegiate event of the weekend, VCU started with a bang. Redshirt junior Jaleesa Williams set the school record in the discus with a top throw of 49.40-meters, good for second in the event. Not to be outdone, senior Frank Afriyie set the men’s school-record in the discus just a few hours later. His 50.69-meter throw placed him in fourth for the day.

Keeping up with the performances of the day, sophomore Kiara Porter ran the 400-meter dash in 53.41 seconds – eighth-best time in the East region all season long. Later, Porter set a personal best in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.59 seconds.

“Jaleesa and Frank both had some of their best days ever of practice this week and it showed in their performances today,” head coach Jon Riley said. “To break both discus marks on the same day is an unexpected achievement and we look forward to seeing how much further we can go with continued focus in this area.”

Impressed with the way his team performed on the first day, Riley was already focused on Saturday saying, “we’re all looking forward to an even better second day.”

The next day, the Rams continued to perform well. Jessica Williams, Jaleesa’s sister, placed 11th in the shot put with a throw of 13.51 meters. Jaleesa finished right behind her sister with a throw of 13.48 meters. Jaleesa also finished in 12th in the hammer throw after sending it 49.27 meters.

The women’s 1600-meter sprint medley team of Verna Hilaire-Lee, Dionna Hayes, Nneka Ogwu and Brianna Krumholz finished the race with a time of 4:04.29, good for ninth place in the event.

Right after the women, the men’s 1600-meter sprint medley team stepped onto the track for their event. The team of Desmond Smallwood, George Moore, Kyle Sipple and Khalid Khamis ran the race in 3:27.16, earning them eighth place.

To cap off the weekend of great performances, sophomore Brandon Ruffin set an outdoor personal record in the shot put with a throw of 16.65 meters, securing a third-place finish in the event.

“I am pleased with the effort our athletes displayed this weekend against the caliber of competition we faced,” Riley said.

The teams return to action next Saturday, April 13, in Fairfax at the George Mason Invitational.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply