Freshman Bethea puts on a show at Colonial Relays

Marcus Blackwell
Contributing Writer

VCU’s men’s and women’s track and field team have been on the road the past two weekends, traveling  to the University of Richmond for the Fred Hardy Invitational on March 25 and again on April 2 in Williamsburg to participate in the Colonial Relay.

At the Fred Hardy Invitational, the men participated in several events, where VCU was well represented.

Freshman Andrew Hines set a personal record in the hammer throw by sending it 47.10 meters. In the shot put competition, sophomore Shawn Scornaienchi was also successful in recording his best outdoor mark at 13.78 meters, finishing in fifth place.

In the 400, sophomores Khalil Shepard finishing with a time of 49.39 and Nicholas Buckingham  finished with a time of 49.5, placing fourth and sixth respectively. Buckingham showed improvement, cutting more than a full second off of his previous personal best in the event.

Senior Sam Hush ran 10:03.86 in his first steeplechase in three years on his way to place third.

The Lady Rams also delivered an admirable performance at the Hardy Invitational. Sophomore Denise O’Rourke was successful in placing in two events. O’Rourke set a personal record in the hammer throw where she placed eighth, and in the discus where she delivered a throw 45.29 meters, placing second.

The Rams also had two place in the top seven in the 400 hurdles. Junior Erika Coleman ran 1:03.41 and took fifth, while Ashanti Jackson ran 1:04.45 and placed seventh.

Coach Jon Riley was satisfied with the Rams showing at the invitational.

“We took a smaller than usual group to the meet and saw a lot of solid performances even though the majority of our groups are training through this weekend,” Riley said. “It was a great opportunity for some of our younger athletes to get some more experience.”

On Friday, VCU participated at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg. For the men’s team, freshman Devin Bethea tied for fourth in the men’s long jump. He leaped 6.58m, achieving a personal record. Also freshman Nathan Williams set a personal record, finishing 11th in the 400m dash with a time of 48.86.

One of the more impressive highlights for VCU came when Andrew Hines got second place in the shot put championship with a toss of 16.06m.

For the women’s team, sophomore Taylor McCormick achieved silver for the triple jump at a personal best of 11.56m, putting her top-10 in program history.

Freshman Camora Sanders also put forth a great effort for the Rams, setting a personal record in the discus throw, tossing it 40.60m. Her throw has set her to be top-10 in program history.

Freshman Kia Carson was VCU’s star of the day, placing in the top five in the 100m and 200m dash — both personal records — and was part of two of VCU’s third place relay teams. Overall it was a great feat from the men and women’s teams.

Riley said he was satisfied with the way both his squads battled.

“I liked the way we persevered through the elements,” Riley said. “Constant rain and wind did not deter our efforts this weekend. If this group continues to to work hard and trust the process, things will work in our favor.”

VCU will compete next on April 9 at the George Mason Invitational next weekend.

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