RICHMOND, Va. – Today marks the second installment of "Rams in the Rankings," a weekly check in on some of the top performers from VCU Track & Field program.
This week VCU Head Coach Jon Riley speaks about the performance of four VCU student-athletes that have strung together a number of impressive performances through three meets this season.
VCU freshman Kiara Porter owns the second fastest time among all CAA competitors in the 200 meter dash, running in 24.28 seconds. The Yorktown, Va., native, set that time at the Navy invite, where she earned first place honors and broke Navy's Wesley Brown Field House record.
"It was just Kiara's first college meet in the 200 meters, and she went out and ran the second fastest time in school history in the event," said Riley. "On Saturday, she will get her first opportunity to run in the 400 meters, which she believes is her best event. Kiara is a hard worker and a fierce competitor, but still has some work to do to improve on her technique. The scary part about her is that she is just a freshman and will be a force over the next few years."
On the other side of the spectrum, is senior mid-distance runner Nicole Walters, who is in her final season with the Rams and has developed into one of the team's top distance runners. The Orange, Va., native holds the top time in the CAA in the mile, leading the nearest competitor by 10 seconds. Walters finished the mile in 4:59.01 at the Navy Invite, for third place honors.
"Nicole has been one of the most consistent athletes throughout her four year career," adds Riley. "She puts her all into each and every race. She holds the second best mile and 800 meters times in school history. As of now, she ranks among the top among CAA competitors in the mile, but her best event is the 800. We expect big things from Nicole and I am sure she will give us her all during her final year."
At the Navy Invite, senior jumper Jazlynn Finney won the long jump with a leap of 5.78 meters, nudging out a fellow CAA competitor by just .04 meters for first place and top honors in the conference.
"Jazlynn is one I look to for leadership," said Riley. "She sets a great example for the younger jumpers and is a joy to work with. To see her doing so well makes me happy. She has come a long way since her freshman year and I expect her to go out on top with some great performances in the long jump. Jazmine currently holds the second best jump in school history and I believe she can jump over the six meter barrier this year."
Junior sprinter Dominic Costanzo remains one of the team's top threats in short distance races, so it comes as no surprise that the Richmond, Va., native has the third best performance among CAA runners in the 400 meter dash. Costanzo came in third place in the 400 meter dash, crossing the finish line in 50.61 seconds.
"Dominic is my leader among the male sprinters," says Riley. "He had a really good sophomore campaign and I expect him to be consistent and improve each week. The 400 meters is a heavily contested event in the CAA and I think Dominic can represent VCU and put us in the mix. We can expect big things from Dom this year."
The Rams will look to continue their strong performances this weekend at the Patriot Games hosted by George Mason University and the Penn State National at Penn State University. The Patriot Games are scheduled for Saturday, while the Penn State National will take place Saturday and Sunday.