GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Most people head to Florida for a little vacation and time on the beach.
Not the Virginia Commonwealth University track & field program, who headed to the "Sunshine State" for a business trip at the prestigious Florida Relays. It was a successful business trip as the Black & Gold posted an outstanding showing against some of the nation's top athletes.
"Our team was excited and hungry for an opportunity to get out into some warm weather and compete for the first time this season," Head Coach Jon Riley said. "They definitely made the best of their opportunity and performed at a very high level with some of the best athletes from all over the country."
For the women, junior Julia Anyaugo was the top performer for the Rams, crushing her own school record by over 10 feet in the discus throw with a heave of 150' 3". Her mark landed her a sixth-place finish, the highest women's finish of the weekend.
The school-record breaking continued in the women's sprint medley where senior Quina Fortune, sophomore Dionna Hayes, junior Jazlynn Finney and classmate Nicole Walters blew past the old school record by 17 seconds with a time of 3:56.42.
Fortune, Walters and Finney then joined freshman Niaimani Aduma in the 4x400 meter relay to post the second-fastest time in school history with a time of 3:49.96, just .56 off the 18-year old school record.
On the individual side, Fortune followed suit in the 200-meter dash by breaking her own school record with a time of 23.79, good for a top-10 finish. Hayes always had a great early season performance with a time of 11.89 in the 100-meter dash.
"As a staff, we're really excited about the way Julia and Quina showed the ability to better themselves and their school records consistently," Riley said.
For the men, senior DeAngelo Wilson had a strong weekend with a seasonal best in the 100-meter dash. Into a very strong head wind, Wilson posted a time of 10.83 against some of the nation's best.
He then teamed with classmates Donnie Seward and Axel Mostrag, as well as sophomore Dominic Costanzo in the sprint medley relay. The quartet posted the strongest showing by the Black & Gold all weekend with a fourth-place finish and a time of 3:21.24, missing the school record by less than two seconds.
Seward and Costanzo then teamed with Josh Bostick and Jeff Hernandez in the 4x400 relay to notch the third fastest time in school history, clocking in at 3:14.72.
On the individual side, senior Walid Berkhedle recorded a personal best in the 1500-meter run with a time of 3:47.94. That ranks him as the third-best runner in school history. Mostrag rounded out the Rams weekend with a top-15 showing in the 800-meter run, posting a time of 1:52.46.
"Walid had a solid weekend and we look forward to his continually improvement in our school rankings in the 1500," Riley said.
The Rams head to Knoxville, Tenn. for the Sea Ray Relays next weekend as their final meet before the first home meet of the spring with the VCU Invitational set for Apr. 16th.