GENEVA, OH - Outstanding performances across the board by the University of the District of Columbia women's indoor track and field team led to an 11th place finish out of 21 teams in the Division II Team Challenge this past weekend.
"Our 11th place finish with only nine competitors says a lot about the quality of the athletes we have on this team," head coach Alton McKenzie said. "I was very pleased with our performance."
The highlight of the event for UDC once again came in the 4X400M relay, where the Firebirds bested 24 other teams to take first place in dramatic fashion. Callister Jones, Latoya Allen, Tatyana Commock and Kaneesha Hollis won with a time of 3:55.68, just shy of the NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 3:55.40. Hollis came back from a 15M deficit upon receiving the baton in 4th place, and the All-American closed superbly to out-kick her competitors in the final 50M.
"To come away with a win in the 4X400M relay says a lot about the direction this team is heading in," McKenzie said. "I'm dissapointed we just missed the NCAA provisional qualifying time, but a win is certainly nothing to take lightly."
Jones, Hollis and Allen also had impressive individual performances in their respective 400M races. Jones (Fort Washington, MD - Oxon Hill HS) took third place in the 1st heat - the fastest heat in the event, with a new personal best time of 58.32. Hollis (Centreville, MD - North Caroline Senior HS) was right behind her at 4th place with a 58.64, and Allen (Washington, DC - Dunbar Senior HS) followed in 13th place at 60.75. The three runners all placed in the top-15 in a field of 49 competitors.
Commock (Washington, DC - McKinley Tech HS) also had an impressive individual performance in the 60M race as she qualified as a finalist out of 39 competitors with a third place finish in Heat 4 (8.09). In the fnals, she finished in 9th place with a time of 8.03.
In the 200M, Atiya Amis (Washington, DC - Dunbar Senior HS) took second in Heat 5 with a time of 26.79. Shauna-Kay Creary (Kingston, Jamaica - St. Andrew) was 4th in Heat 4 with a time of 26.73, and placed 19th overall in a field of 60 competitors.
Creary also competed in the high-jump event as she cleared 1.48M to finish tied for 12th place out of 20 competitors. Also in the field events, Areial Clark (Kennesaw, GA - North Cobb HS) earned an impressive 6th place in a field of 31 competitors with a shot put throw of 12.37M.
The Firebirds finished with a team score of 24 points and were not far behind 10th place Indiana University of Pennsylvania (26.10). Two of the meet's top-10 finishers Hillsdale (3rd place) and Findlay (7th place) came into the meet ranked 14th and and 15th nationally.
"It was a great experience to have our team compete against some of the best Division II teams in the country," McKenzie said. "We learned a lot about where we stand as a team, and I am proud of all of them."