RICHMOND, Va. – Many around the VCU Track & Field program now that the future is very bright.
That bright future was clearly evident when the CAA handed out its yearly awards. Kiara Porter and Brandon Ruffin, two record-setting freshmen for the Rams, took home the conference Rookie of the Year awards.
It marked only the second time for both the men's and women's program that a Ram had taken home a Rookie of the Year accolade. David Flueckiger (2002) and Tanika Brown (2003) were the only other VCU athletes to win the award.
Porter is coming off the best freshman campaign in VCU women's track & field history, reaching the NCAA East Region Quarterfinals, finishing just hundredths of a second from a spot in the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter dash.
The Yorktown, Va. native broke the school record in the 400m with a time of 53.24, which came at the CAA Championship meet in a victorious effort in the event. She was just one of two freshmen in the East Region to compete in the preliminary rounds. She will be heading to Spain next week to compete in the World Junior Championships as part of the US team, running on the 4x400 meter relay team.
Ruffin was part of a resurgence in the throws, posting five victories on the year, two in the shot put and three in the discus. He finished in the top three in eight different meets this year. He completed the year as the school record holder in the discus, second in school history in the outdoor shot put and third in the indoor shot.
At the CAA Championships, he won the shot put and was runner-up in the discus, scoring a total of 18 points for the Black & Gold. His throw of 55' 2 ¾" to win the CAA shot put ranked him as the eighth-best junior (athletes under 20) in the country and earned him a spot at the US Junior Outdoor Championships.