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Firebirds Improve on Last Week's Season-Opener with Strong Performances at Terrapin Invitational

Junior Simone Grant was the top Division II finisher in the 300M with a career-best time of 41.33s.
Junior Simone Grant was the top Division II finisher in the 300M with a career-best time of 41.33s.

COLLEGE PARK, MD - The Firebirds Women's Indoor Track & Field team improved upon last week's season-opening performance with a quality showing at Saturday's Terrapin Invitational hosted by the University of Maryland.

The day began with a strong showing in the 60M by junior Brittany Okon (Health Education – Bronx, NY/Pelham Prep Academy), who knocked six hundredths of a second off of last week's time to finish in 8.03s. Her time was 11th fastest among 52 competitors as she narrowly missed out on making it back to the final round. She was the 2nd best among all Division II competitors at the meet.

The next highlight of the meet for the Firebirds came in the 300M event. A quartet of Firebirds competed and all put forth great performances. Junior Christina Baker (Psychology – Kingston, Jamaica/Collegiate Institute for Math & Science) ran a personal best 43.84 to win Heat 6 and finish 21st overall among 38 competitors. Junior All-American Marlena Wright (Journalism – Bronx, NY/Dewitt Clinton HS) ran 43.37s and was 16th overall, and senior All-American Jerily Benjamin (Health Education – Queens, NY/Phillip Randolph HS) finished 8th overall with a time of 41.87s from Heat 3.

The best performance in the 300M, however, came from junior Simone Grant (Health Education – Bronx, NY/Pelham Prep Academy), who ran 41.33s to finish 2nd in Heat 2. This time was her career best in the event and was an impressive 5th overall among the field of 38 competitors. She was also the top Division II finisher on the day.

Later, Okon returned to the track for the 200M and won Heat 5 in 27.34s for 18th overall among 46 competitors.

Finally, the Firebirds ended their day with the 4x400M, where the team of Jerily Benjamin, Marlena Wright, Christina Baker and Simone Grant were comfortable winners of Heat 3, leading from start to finish. Their time of 4:04.14 was 8th fastest among 22 teams and was 2nd best among Division II teams competing. 

"We made progress this week, and we're looking for continued improvement as the season moves on," two-time East Coast Conference Coach of the Year Alton McKenzie said. "We just need to keep putting in the work in the weeks to come."

The Firebirds will be off next weekend and return to competition in two weeks on January 30th at the Armory Collegiate Invitational in Manhattan, NY.