Track and field looks to start season strong

Peter Mason
Contributing Writer

Brandon Ruffin was crowned the 2014 Indoor Atlantic 10 Shot Put Champion last February. PHOTO COURTESY of VCU ATHLETICS

While the weather is still considerably cold, spring sports are set to begin.

The men’s and women’s track and field teams this season have added a total of 22 freshmen to the roster. The women’s team finished last year placing well in the upper half of several of their competitions.

In the Atlantic 10 Indoor Track & Field Championships in Kingston, Rhode Island, the women’s team finished fourth out of 12 teams. In the VCU Ram Invitation, the team came in second place out of 11. The team came in seventh out of 22 teams at George Mason University and then sixth out of 25 at the Morgan State Legacy Meet in Baltimore, Maryland.

Now a senior, Kiara Porter was one of the weapons for the team’s success last year. In the 2013-14 season, she managed to finish in eighth place in the 400 meter finals in the NCAA Championship, which earned her a first team All-American honor. She’s also a five-team A-10 champion after just one year in the conference.

The season for the men’s team last year included placing seventh out of 23 in the George Mason Invitational in Fairfax, Virginia and in the A-10 Track and Field Championships in Amherst, Massachusetts, the team came in fourth out of nine.

Two competitors to look out for on the men’s roster include senior throwers Ryan Cole and Brandon Ruffin. Cole in his junior season recorded a toss of 48.67 meters in the A-10 championship and came in fourth place. In the Vanderbilt Invitational he launched a personal record with a 48.29 meter toss in the hammer throw competition. This was a competition where he came in fifth at the VCU Ram Invitational.

Ruffin, also in his junior year, came in fifth place in the discus throw in the A-10 Championship with a throw of 47.54 meters. He also came in second in the shot put with a score of 16.64 meters. In the Vanderbilt Invitational, he came in fourth in this competition.

“Our seniors have leadership that we’ve never had before,” said head coach Jon Riley. “I think what we’re missing is a team title, and my emphasis this year to the entire group is to work as a team.”

Men’s and women’s track opens their season on Saturday, Jan. 10, in the GMU Father Diamond Invitational in Fairfax.

“Fall was scary, because we’ve seen some things from the team that we’ve never seen before,” Riley said. “Especially as a group they all stayed on each other during workouts, it’s a really good team dynamic that we have, and we just have to keep that going.”

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