JACKSONSVILLE, Fla. – With each passing season, the VCU women's track & field program continue to progress and make waves not only in the conference, but also in the East Region.
This year was no different as the Rams saw their year come to a close on Saturday at the NCAA East Quarterfinals after a stellar showing by the 4x100 meter relay squad of freshmen Kiara Porter and Alexis Stroman, junior Dionna Hayes and senior Jazlynn Finney.
The Rams relay squad finished 15th in the event, just three spots and two-tenths of a second from advancing to NCAA Championships. Earlier this year, the quartet set the school record in the event with a time of 45.20 and nearly matched that on Saturday with a time of 45.26. South Carolina finished in the final qualifying spot for NCAA Championships with a time of 45.06.
On Friday, Porter saw her outstanding freshman season come to a close in the quarterfinals of the 400-meter dash. The VCU record holder in the event scorched the track in 53.28, just .04 off her school record from earlier in the year. Her time placed her 15th in the event, just five-tenths of a second off the 12th-place and NCAA Championship qualifying time of Ohio State's Shaniqua McGinnis (52.78). Porter had the second-best time by a freshman at the East Regionals.
In addition, sophomore thrower Jaleesa Williams saw her record-breaking campaign come to a close with fouls in each one of her three discus attempts. The Virginia Beach, Va. native set the school record in the discus earlier this year with a toss of 160' 9".
This year marked the first time ever in the history of the program that the Rams sent multiple student-athletes to the NCAA Regional events in back-to-back seasons. Last year, Quina Fortune and Julia Anyaugo both qualified for the East Preliminary rounds.
The Rams lose nine seniors to graduation, but return a strong nucleus that will look to contend for a conference title in their first season in the Atlantic 10.