RAMS CONTINUE TO PROGRESS AT NAVY INVITE
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The VCU Men's & Women's Track & Field program traveled to the U.S. Naval Academy on Saturday to compete in Navy Invite.
The VCU women finished in second place out of the six women's programs competing at the meet, while the VCU men came in fourth place out of six schools on the men's side.
VCU senior Jazlynn Finney garnered top honors in the women's long jump, after reaching a mark of 5.78 meters, which earned her a spot at the ECAC Indoor Championships in March.
Redshirt-sophomore Chaneka Perry turned in another solid performance in the triple jump, marking the second time in three meets that Perry has won the event. The Newport News, Va., cleared 12.03 meters, which set a new Wesley Brown Field House record and also earned her a spot at the ECAC meet.
The string of first-place finishes continued for the Rams, with freshman Alexis Stroman (8.84 seconds – 60 meter hurdles), junior Dionna Hayes (7.62 seconds – 60 meters) and sophomore Justine Dutton (3.30 meters – pole vault). Hayes' time was an ECAC-qualifying time as well.
VCU freshman Kiara Porter placed first in the 200 meter dash, with a blistering time of 24.28 seconds. The time set a new Wesley Brown Field House record and personal best for the Porter.
The Rams won the 4x400 relay for the second time in three meets, crossing the line in 3:48.33. The time set a new field house record and improved the squads ECAC-qualifying time. The relay team was made up of sophomore Niaimani Aduma, Finney, freshman Nicole Grasty and Porter.
Redshirt sophomore Jaleesa Williams broke her own school record in the women's shot put (14.28 meters – second place), plus a personal best in the weight throw (14.42 meters – seventh place).
"I'm really pleased with today's performances," said VCU Head Coach Jon Riley. "I saw some really good things from this group of young ladies. They can really be a special group if they continue to push one another and work hard at practice and stay healthy."
VCU junior thrower Frank Afriyie continues to impress in his short career with the Rams, as he came in second place in the men's weight throw with a heave of 17.33 meters. Afriyie further cemented his spot at the IC4A meet, eclipsing the 16.80 qualifying mark.
Freshman thrower Ryan Coles garnered his first collegiate victory in the men's shot put, as his toss landed 14.35 meters. Teammate Luke Thomason followed shortly behind with a toss of 14.10 meters, for a second place finish. The two student-athletes were the only competitors in the event to clear 14 meters.
VCU junior distance runner Brenden Leavitt put on a show in the 5000 meter run, as he crossed the finish line in 14:52.02, just eclipsing Navy runner Brian DeLaMora (14:52.19) for first place honors. The Virginia Beach, Va., native set a new personal best in the event and fell just a few seconds shy of qualifying for the IC4A Invite.
After placing third in the preliminaries of the 60-meter hurdles, sophomore Chase Turner improved one spot in the finals to claim second place honors. The Arlington, Va., native crossed the finish line in 8.43 seconds.
VCU junior Dominic Costanzo put in a solid performance in the 400 meter dash, finishing 50.61 seconds, which earned him third place honors.
"I was pleased with the men's performance today," added Riley. "We showed lots of promise in many areas. This is a hard working group of young men and they will get better each and every meet."
The Rams will travel to Newport News next weekend for the Captain's Invite/Multi Event at Christopher Newport University.