The Rams opened day one of the Virginia Tech Hokie Invitational with great performances by both veterans and rookies. Both the Men and Women had outstanding performances and finished their events making personal records.
“This weekend, we got a better look at what our men are capable of and raised our ability to the challenges we faced,” coach Jon Riley said. “As a result, the men achieved many personnel records and top ten marks along the way.”
Freshman Ian Davis broke a personal record in the 60-meter hurdles prelims, running a time of 8.30 seconds. The time is currently the third-best Atlantic 10 time and the tenth-fastest time all-time for VCU in the event.
Junior Kareem Payne crossed the line in 6.87 seconds to finish ninth in the 60-meter dash prelims. Payne is currently the third-fastest Atlantic 10 runner in the event. Sophomore Justin West ran a personal best in the 60-meter dash, setting a time of 7.21 seconds.
Senior Calvin Wood showed distance strength after completing the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:30.2. It is currently the fifth-fastest time in the Atlantic 10.
Junior Devon Thompson finished eighth in the 300-meter run with a time of 35.39 seconds.
Senior Racheed Davis earned a top-10 finish in both the long jump and the triple jump on day two of the Hokie invitational. Davis earned tenth in the long jump with a leap of 6.34 meters and earned eighth in the triple jump with a personal record leap of 14.28 meters. Davis’ triple jump mark is the fifth-best mark in the Atlantic 10.
Sophomore Jamik Alexander took home a top-15 finish in the 200-meter run with a time of 22.13 seconds. The time currently ranks third in the Atlantic 10 for the event. Both sophomore Justin West and junior Kareem Payne ran times that put them in the top 15 in the Atlantic 10. West ran a 22.37 and Payne ran a 22.46.
Freshmen Bryce Catlett finished sixth in the 5,000-meter run and earned a personal record as a Ram in the event, crossing the line in 15:50.85.
VCU’s 4×400-meter relay A team earned fifth in the event with a time of 3:17.47. The time is currently third among Atlantic 10 relay teams. The A team consisted of four juniors — Nicholas Buckingham, Bigal Harrison, Devon Thompson, and Kahlil Shepard.
Freshmen Kaline Torres earned a personal record in the 400-meter run, running a time of 50.84 seconds.
The VCU’s women’s first day at the Virginia Tech Hokie Invitational centered around junior Nichelle Scott’s performance. Scott ran a top-five Atlantic 10 time in the 1,000-meter run, finishing with a time of 2:52.11, securing third in the event. The time is currently the fastest for the event in the Atlantic 10.
Freshman Kayla Smith had an outstanding performance while running the 300-meter. Smith finished in the top five with a time of 39.98 seconds.
Junior Taylor McCormick jumped her way to a mark of 11.97 meters in the triple jump, earning an eighth-place finish in the event.
Senior Emily Dyke finished the mile with a time of 5:06.67. Her time qualifies as the tenth-best time so far in the Atlantic 10 this season.
Freshman Khoi Banks ran a personal record time of 9.16 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles prelims. Sophomore Daijona Revell finished just behind Banks with a time of 9.21 seconds.
Freshman Dajae Goulet ran a personal best in the 60-meter dash, crossing the line with a time of 7.76 seconds.
Sophomore Ashley Greenlee finished third in the 600-meter run with a personal best time of 1:34.69.
The Rams remained in the spotlight on day two as VCU’s relay teams secured top-five finishes, with the distance medley relay squad taking home first.
The distance medley relay team consisting of freshmen Ashley Brown, sophomore Ashley Greenlee, Scott, and Dyke placed first in the event with an Atlantic 10-best time of 12:02.66. The time is the second-fastest distance medley relay time in VCU history.
Freshman Makayla McGowan had a top-ten finish in the shot put with a throw of 13.35 meters, earning herself a ninth place finish in the event.
The 4×400-meter relay A team, consisting of freshmen Kayla Smith, and sophomores Candice James, Taylor Watkins, and Latrice Morris, finished fourth with a time of 3:50.17. The time is the second-best in the Atlantic 10.
Freshman Delaney Savedge set a personal record after finishing third in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 18:25.36.
McCormick finished eighth in the triple jump with a mark of 11.97 meters.
Junior Amiaya Carey hit a mark of 1.59 meters in the high jump, placing seventh in the event.
Junior De’Nisha Smith leapt a length of 5.36 meters in the long jump. Smith finished sixth in the event. Freshman Janelle Cheatham finished just behind Smith, but set a personal record with her long jump mark of 5.35 meters. Cheatham earning seventh in the event.
Sophomores Candice James and Taylor Watkins completed the 400-meter run in 59.14 and 59.24 seconds, respectively.
“The level of competition was increased this week and our women responded well to that,” Coach Riley said. “We showed that we can compete with any team around the country and have success.”
The VCU track and field team started the season off breaking records at the East Tennessee State University Invitational on Jan. 13. The women took first place in the 3,000-meter run, the 200-meter, and the 4×400-meter relay event.
The men’s team showcased teamwork and strength in distance on the second day of the ETSU Invite. Senior Bismillah Alidost set a personal record in the 3,000-meter with a time of 9:06.93, finishing eighth in the event.
VCU’s 4×400 meter A team, which consists of juniors Devon Thompson, Khalil Shepard, Nicholas Buckingham, and Bigal Harrison, finished third in their event with a time of 3:18.57, setting a A-10 season record.
The 4×400 meter B team, led by sophomore Zayd Abdul-Ali, senior Calvin Wood and freshmen Kalin Torres and Chukwuezugo Aguolu, finished fifth with a time of 3:22.87, securing top-five finishes for VCU’s relay teams. .
Sophomore Jamik Alexander placed sixth in the final of the 60-meter with a time of 6.94 seconds.
“I’m really impressed with the young athletes and how they handled themselves as well as the leadership provided by our more veteran athletes,” said coach Jon Riley. “The team travelled well and took care of business. All in all, it was a great weekend to be a Ram.”
The VCU women wrapped up day two of the ETSU Invitational on Jan. 14. Senior Emily Dyke finished first in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:16.75. Freshman Ashley Brown finished second in the mile with a time of 5:09.82, putting her seventh on the VCU all-time list and in the top 15 fastest mile times in the Atlantic 10.
Freshman Kayla Smith won the 200-meter and set an A-10 season-high with a time of 24.79, a score which tied her for eighth place in the all-time VCU record books.
The 4×400-meter relay team, consisting of freshman Kayla Smith, junior Nichelle Scott, and sophomores Taylor Watkins and Ashlee Greenlee, won the event in a time of 3:50.56. The time is the tenth-fastest all-time in the event for VCU.
Sophomore Latrice Morris and freshman Alexis Willis each finished in the top five of the 60-meter finals. Morris finished fourth with a personal record time of 7.68 seconds, while Willis finished fifth with a personal record time of 7.69 seconds. Morris’ time ties former track and field member Carina Peter for sixth on the VCU all-time list in the event while Willis’ time puts her at seventh all-time.
Senior De’Nisha Smith finished fourth in the 400-meter run. Forty minutes after completing the 400-meter run, Smith took seventh in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.97 seconds.
Throwing coach Ethan Tussing, who is in his 10th season as a track coach, said he is impressed with how the team competed.
“It went really well,” Tussing said. “It was our first meet coming back from break and the team competed better than we thought we would have, considering we are so young.”
VCU Track and Field will return to the track next Saturday, Jan. 28 to compete in the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational in Lynchburg, Va.
Jessica Wetzler, Contributing Writer