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Firebirds Excel at NY Armory Saturday Night

Firebirds Excel at NY Armory Saturday Night

NEW YORK, NY - Led by two NCAA Provisional qualifying performances, the University of the District of Columbia Firebirds women's indoor track and field squad lit up the night during their trip to New York for the first series of the Saturday "Night at the Armory" meets.

Junior Shauna-Kay Creary (Accounting - Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) got the Firebirds off to a great start with a 3rd place (amongst 25 competitors) finish in the Long Jump with a leap of 5.51M (18'1"). This was good for an NCAA Provisional Qualifying mark and puts her 22nd Nationally in Division II. Fellow junior Kaydian Jones (Journalism - Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) had two big jumps that were close foul marks, which bodes well for her future ventures in the long jump in the coming weeks.

The Firebirds' great performances continued with the 500M. Freshman Jerily Benjamin (Queens, NY/Phillip Randolph HS) ran a courageous race from the front in the 2nd heat of the 500M, but just got caught at the end to finish 2nd. Her time of 1:18.23 was good for 5th overall amongst 17 competitors. Fellow Freshman Marlena Wright (Journalism - Bronx, NY/Dewitt Clinton HS) dominated heat 3 with a time of 1:18.90 and finished 8th overall.

Kaydian Jones made amends in the 200M when she finished 3rd in Heat 2 with a time of 24.48 seconds. This time is an NCAA Provisional qualifying time and puts her 34th Nationally in Division II. Freshman Simone Grant (Health Education - Bronx, NY/Pelham Prep Academy) made her debut in the 200M with a 4th place finish in her heat with a time of 26.02 seconds. That time had her finishing 15th overall in a field of 61 competitors. Creary returned to run the 200M after her stellar performance in the Long Jump, and she continued to impress by winning heat 5 with a time of 26.03 seconds, which was 16th in the field of 61 competitors.

The. Firebirds closed out the meet with an exceptional performance in the women's 4x400M. With Division I UConn separating themselves from the field, District of Columbia was in a race for 2nd in a see-saw battle with Division I St. Francis (PA). The team of Marlena Wright, Jerily Benjamin, junior Rochelle Nelson (Mass Media - Kingston, Jamaica/Holmwood Tech HS) and Simone Grant ran a gutsy race, battling on each leg. Grant closed the show with a great anchor leg, overtaking St. Francis on the final straightaway to secure 2nd place behind UConn. The Firebirds' time of 3:56.59 was just outside the NCAA Provisional qualifying time of 3:55.80. Their time still places them as the 19th fastest in the 4x400M amongst all teams in Division II, nationally.

The Firebirds scored 26 points to finish 8th among 13 teams scoring at the meet.

"To come away from this meet with two NCAA Provisional qualifying marks and just missing on one is certainly not bad coming off winter break," head coach Alton McKenzie said. "However, we won't rest on our laurels...this just shows the strong potential this team possesses and how far we can go if we continue to work hard. We're looking forward to continued improvement from the entire team in the weeks to come."