Ruffin, Porter take weekly track, field awards

Junior Kiara Porter holds all sprint record for VCU’s track & field program for distances ranging from 60-500 meters. Photo of VCU Athletics.

Kris Mason 
Contributing Writer

VCU track and field athletes Brandon Ruffin and Kiara Porter received the men’s and women’s Atlantic 10 performer of the week awards, respectively.

Both were honored for their performances at the George Mason Invitational, which took place in Fairfax, Va. on April 12.

Ruffin earned the award for his first-place finish in the shotput with a throw of 57-feet, 8.5-inches. His throw, which broke a 19-year-old school record, is currently ranked  as the 31st-farthest in the East Region this season. Ruffin also finished sixth in the discus competition at the meet.

Porter won the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.38 second. Her time set a new VCU record and slots as the 13th-fastest time nationally this season.

Porter is the now record holder for every sprint record in VCU track & field history, which includes distances ranging from 60-500 meters.

Overall, the men’s team finished seventh out of 23 schools at the meet. In addition to Ruffin’s excellent performance, fellow thrower Ryan Coles was a key contributor to the Rams’ success. Coles finished runner-up to Ruffin in the shot put and finished fourth in the discus.

On the women’s side, the Lady Rams also finished in seventh place at the George Mason Invitational.  Porter was not the only athlete to break a VCU school record at the meet, as javelin-thrower Briana Ratchford broke the school record with a throw of 138-feet, 7-inches.

This past weekend, VCU sent split squads to compete in the Kentucky Relays in Lexington, Ky. and the Morgan State Legacy Meet in Baltimore, Md. Results from that meet were not final as of press time.

April 24-26, the Rams will travel north to Philadelphia, Pa. to compete in the Penn Relays as the last event of the regular season. Past participants at the Relays include Olympic athletes like Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and United States sprinter Tyson Gay. 

The 2014 A-10 Outdoor Track & Field Championships will take place May 3 and 4 at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts. 

On the men’s side, defending champion University of Rhode Island is the favorited to win its second straight crown and third in four years.

On the women’s side, the Lady Rams figure to be one of the favorites to take home the conference title. VCU not only has a record-breaking sprinter in Porter, but also has proven to possess depth.

Last season, junior thrower Jaleesa Williams was named a second-team All-American for discus. She was named A-10 co-athlete of the week earlier this month when she won a gold medal in discus at the Florida Relays. 

Additionally, freshman sprinter Ariel Briales was named A-10 rookie of the week for her performance in the 3000-meter at the VCU Invitational in March.

The conference tournament championship will be held May 3-4 at U.Mass.

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