RICHMOND, Va. – The VCU Track & Field program is gearing up for a tough weekend of action, sending athletes to both the Christopher Newport University Vince Brown Invite (Saturday) and the New Balance Invite in New York City (Friday and Saturday).
VCU Head Coach Jon Riley took time this week to reflect upon a few student-athletes that have had a surge of strong performances throughout the indoor season.
Freshman sprinter Darius Vaughn owns the second fastest time among CAA competitors in the 200 meters, with his recent performance at the Penn State National Invitational. The Chesapeake, Va., native finished in 22.23 seconds and earned a spot at the IC4A meet in early March. Vaughn also owns the third fastest time in the 400 meters, with a time of 50.02 seconds, which also came at Penn State.
"Darious had a really strong showing last week in the 200 meters," said Riley. "He executed most of his race like we planned, but there is still some work to be done on his finish. I want him to continue to work hard and remain aggressive."
The Rams had a pair of school records broken up in State College, with the women's 4x400 relay team contributing to a new school record. The group made up of senior Jazlynn Finney, freshman Nicole Grasty, sophomore Niaimani Aduma and Kiara Porter etched their names in the school record book. The Rams own the second fastest time among relay teams in the CAA, as they crossed the finish line 3:45.39, just a few seconds behind George Mason's squad.
"The ladies did a good job, but I see room for improvement out of them," added Riley. "We have to push the stick through the zone and have cleaner exchanges. I am sure they are happy with the recent results, but are not content with their recent performances."
One athlete to keep an eye on going forward, is junior thrower Frank Afriyie (pictured right). The Alexandria, Va., native transferred to VCU prior to the 2011-12 academic year and has been a force in the weight throw. Afriyie owns the CAA's second best heave in the weight throw, with his attempt landing 17.33 meters past the starting point.
"Frank is a very talented throwers and is moving up our school rankings quickly," commented Riley. "He has the potential to push into being an IC4A threat too if he puts his mind into it and executes what he does in practice consistently. We are just waiting for him to hit the right moment in the right meet to change everything moving forward for him."