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Firebirds Stride into the Heart of the Season at Terrapin Invitational

Jerily Benjamin excelled in the 300M race, finishing in 41.49 and winning Heat 5.
Jerily Benjamin excelled in the 300M race, finishing in 41.49 and winning Heat 5.

LANDOVER, MD – The Firebirds were back in action close to home on Saturday, January 18th.  The team competed at the Terrapin Invitational against a myriad of excellent track and field programs including Maryland and Navy.  Coach Alton Mckenzie had the Firebirds in the mindset of seeking continued improvement, and many athletes met that objective.

The day started in the 60M, which saw senior Jasmine Smith (Architecture -- Baltimore, MD/Polytechnic HS) run a season's best 8.19 seconds.  She finished 14th overall among the stiff competition from 31 competitors.  Smith competed in Heat 3, and finished 4th out of 7.  She was followed closely in the standings by teammate Brittany Okon (Health Education -- Bronx, NY/Pelham Prep Academy).  Okon ran an impressive time, especially since this was only her second meet as a Firebird.  Despite stumbling at the start, she finished 15th overall with a time of 8.25 seconds; 6th of 8 competitors in Heat 4. 

The 300M race is an unusual distance, and is rarely run.  This did not stop senior Jerily Benjamin (Undeclared – Queens, NY/Phillip Randolph HS) from running a superb 41.49, and winning Heat 5.  Overall she finished in 6th place out of 31 competitors.  Freshman teammate Charmaine Sweeney (Computer Science -- Landover, MD/Largo HS) also sprinted to an excellent finish.  She was 2nd in heat 4 with a time of 43.30. 

While the 400M race is only slightly longer than the 300M, this extra distance requires a little more focus on pace.  Marlena Wright (Journalism – Bronx, NY/Dewitt Clinton HS) handled this distance well, and finished with a solid time of 61.49.  This was good enough to place 3rd in heat 5, and 12th overall among 32 competitors. 

The Firebirds also had strong performances on the field.  Shauna-Kay Creary (Accounting -- Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) led the way, and was 4th among 17 competitors in the Triple Jump with a mark of 10.72M. 

Junior Kimoy Mais (Mass Media -- St. Andrew, Jamaica/St. Andrew HS) was a presence for the Firebirds in the middle distance events.  She finished 11th out of 19 competitors in the 800M, with a time of 2:26.48.  After the 800M, the meet concluded with another gutsy performance in the 4x400M relay.  The Firebirds won heat 3 handily, running a time of 4:02.70.  The team consisted of Charmaine Sweeney, Kimoy Mais, Marlena Wright and Jerily Benjamin, and was able to place 5th among 17 teams.

Next Saturday the Firebirds continue their season outside of the DMV area.  They will be competing in the Tiger Open on January 25th at Princeton University.