April 15, 2012

VCU TRACK & FIELD SEES PRODUCTIVE DAY AT 2012 PATRIOT OPEN INVITE

FAIRFAX, Va. – The VCU Men's and Women's Track & Field programs competed at the 2012 Patriot Open Invite on Saturday afternoon at George Mason University.

"We had a very productive day," said VCU head coach Jon Riley. "We had a showing from sprints, jumps, throws and distance. Anytime you can get school records, personal and seasonal bests from every aspect of the program, it's a job well done."

VCU performed well in the men's discus with freshman Brandon Ruffin garnering a first place finish, with his teammate Frank Afriyie placing second. Ruffin's toss landed 50.15 meters, while Afriyie's heave landed 49.34 meters.

Redshirt sophomore Jaleesa Williams broke a school record in the women's shot put with a heave of 14.13 meters, which earned her a second place finish. The toss broke former Ram Natalie Duncan's school record from 2009, which was 13.91 meters.

"The throws squad is having one heck of a year," added Riley. "I see bigger and better things coming from this group."

The women's 4x100 meter relay team of freshman Alexis Stroman, freshman Kiara Porter, senior Jazlynn Finney and junior Dionna Hayes placed first in the event. The group crossed the finish line in 45.98 seconds.

Redshirt sophomore Chaneka Perry won the women's high jump, leaping a seasonal best 1.63 meters. Redshirt senior Stephanie Newing broke her own school record in the pole vault, clearing 3.60 meters.

"Stephanie is working extremely hard and the vault is really coming together for her," said VCU assistant coach Allyson Thomas. "We still have a few more weeks left in her VCU career and I am really excited to see what is in store."

The Rams had three student-athletes set personal records while qualifying for IC4As later this spring. Junior Alex Hinton crossed the finish line in 1:51.45 for 16th place honors in the 800 meter run. Sophomore Chase Turner garnered an eighth place finish in the 110 meter hurdles, finishing in 14.66 seconds. Freshman Ryan Coles placed third in the men's shot put with a heave of 16.05 meters.

In addition, several athletes set personal bests at the Patriot Invite. In distance events, junior Brenden Leavitt finished in 14:43.00 for a fourth place finish in the 5000 meters, while senior Nicole Walters crossed in 4:37.06 in the 1500 meters, for a 17th place finish. Freshman Amethyst Polk finished ninth in the 400 meters in a time of 57.21, while freshman Sarah Fulgham placed 10th in the 100 meter dash with a time of 12.37 seconds.

The Rams will head to Tennesee next weekend to compete in the 2012 Vanderbilt Invite, which will run on Friday and Saturday. VCU will also send athletes to the CNU Captains' Classic on Saturday and Sunday.

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