FAIRFAX, VA – For the first time in five weeks, the Firebirds were back in competition. This past Saturday, January 11th, the indoor track and field team took on stiff competition at the Father Diamond Invitational hosted by George Mason University. The Firebirds have only competed in two meets so far in this young season, yet the athletes have posted some impressive times and numbers.
The first meet of the new year began with outstanding performances in the long jump by Kaydian Jones (Journalism – Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) and Simone Grant (Health Education – Bronx, NY/Pelham Prep Academy). Jones finished first out of all collegiate athletes by springing to a 5.49m jump on her fourth attempt. In the season-opener at the CNU Holiday Open, Jones jumped a 5.61, which is still the 6th best Division II jump this season. Grant showed excellent consistency in her final three attempts. She finished second with a jump of 5.39m in her final attempt, however, all three of her final jumps were good enough to secure her spot in the top two.
Jones continued to excel for the Firebirds as the competition moved to the track. She ran a tremendous 200m race, and finished with a time of 25.37 seconds. This time was good enough to win Heat 4, and is an NCAA Provisional Qualifying Time. Overall, this performance placed her 9th in Division II this season.
Strong performances on the track also came from sophomores Jerily Benjamin (Undeclared – Queens, NY/Phillip Randolph HS) and Marlena Wright (Journalism – Bronx, NY/Dewitt Clinton HS) in the 500M race. Benjamin was 2nd in Section 3 of the 500M race with a time of 1:18.62. This time placed her 12th amongst 26 competitors. Wright was 5th in the same Section, finishing with a time of 1:20.16 for 16th overall.
As always, the 4x400M Relay gave closure to a long day of competition on the track. The team of Jones, Grant, Wright and Benjamin won Section 3 of the 4x400M. Their time of 3:58.84 was enough to blow away the competition in the Section. The 4x400M Relay team's time is currently 11th best out of all Division II teams.
"It was great to get back to business after the Winter Break and have some good performances, especially from our long jumpers," head coach Alton McKenzie said. "We have four consecutive weeks of competing, so we're looking forward to continued improvements from the team across the board in the weeks to come."
The Firebirds return to action at the PG Sports Complex during the Terrapin Invitational next Saturday, January 18th.