NEW YORK, NY - The University of the District of Columbia Women's Indoor Track & Field team competed at one of the biggest indoor meets on the East Coast when the Firebirds ventured to New York City to compete in the NY Armory Track Invitational.
The meet, which includes top-level high School, collegiate and professional runners, is run over the course of two days - January 30th-31st.
Competition opened up Friday morning for the Firebirds with the 60M, which saw junior Simone Grant (Health Education – Bronx, NY/Pelham Prep Academy) making her college debut in the 60M and running 7.99 seconds for 7th in Heat 12. She was 65th out of 100 competitors competing in the event. Junior Brittany Okon (Health Education – Bronx, NY/Pelham Prep Academy) was 5th in Heat 10 with a time of 8.08 seconds.
Day 1 also saw senior Jerily Benjamin (Health Education – Queens, NY/Phillip Randolph HS) run 59.00 for 4th place in Heat 13 of the 400M for 55th overall among 93 competitors. The best performance in the 400M would come from junior Marlena Wright (Journalism - Bronx, NY/Dewitt Clinton HS), who finished strong to place 3rd in Heat 8 with an Indoor Personal Best of 58.83 seconds – 50th fastest time on the day in a big field of 93.
Day 2 began for UDC with competitors in the 200M. The best performance in that event came from Grant who finished 3rd in Heat 4 with a time of 25.59 seconds. This time would be 44th best among a very large field of 107 competitors. She was the 2nd fastest Division II Athlete on the day in this event.
The Firebirds closed out their participation in the Armory Track Invitational with a good showing in the 4x400M Relay. Running in one of the later heats, the quartet of Jerily Benjamin, Marlena Wright, Christina Baker and Simone Grant finished 2nd in Heat 4 with a season-best 3:55.79. This time was 20th best among 34 teams competing in the event and also finished as the 2nd fastest in Division II.
According to head coach Alton McKenzie, it's a privilege to compete at such a major meet with top-level athletes at not just the collegiate level, but also the elite professionals.
"Hopefully that exposure will influence our student-athletes as they see the level of preparation and commitment it takes to be the best, and most importantly, will provide motivation for us to compete at our bests at any level," McKenzie said.
The Firebirds head to Christopher Newport University next Sunday, February 8th to compete at the Vince Brown Invitational.