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Firebirds Finish 5th in East Coast Conference Women’s Indoor Track & Field Championship Meet; Win 4x400M Relay Event for 5th Straight Year

Women's Indoor Track & Field @ Father Diamond Invitational, 1/7/17
Niasia Harding (right) ran anchor in the event-winning UDC 4x400M Relay Team.

STATEN ISLAND, NY – The University of the District of Columbia Women's Track & Field team finished in 5th place with a total of 63 points at the East Coast Conference Indoor Championship on Friday, February 25th at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex.

The Firebirds were a mere four points behind 4th place LIU Post (67), while St. Thomas Aquinas College finished 3rd with 94 points, 2nd place Georgian Court University had 103, and Roberts Wesleyan College squeaked by GCU for its 3rd consecutive ECC Championship with 110 points.

The event began with the 60M dash, where freshman Shannell Hibbert and senior Brittany Okon placed 3rd and 5th, respectively. Hibbert ran a time of 7.80s to earn UDC six points and Okon ran 7.93s to add two points.

Next, was the ultra-competitive 200M event that saw six different Firebirds compete in a field of 31. UDC had three top-10 finishers, including: freshman Niasia Harding (5th place, 26.00s), Hibbert (6th place, 26.02s) and freshman Temera Duncan (10th place, 26.39s). Also competing for UDC were junior Stacy-Ann Rowe (11th place, 26.44s), Okon (13th place, 26.65s), and sophomore Shakeithia Nicholson (27th, 29.81s). Harding's finish earned UDC two points and Hibbert's earned the Firebirds one point.

Staying with the sprint events, UDC continued to impress in the 400M event as Harding took 2nd place with a 57.73s finish, and Duncan finished 3rd at 58.24s. Freshman Deasia Greer came in at 6th place as well with a 1:01.75s finish. The Firebirds came away with 15 points scored in that event.

Junior Kenlyn Duncan competed admirably for the Firebirds at the 500M and 800M distances, securing a 9th place finish in the 500M with a time of 1:24.07s, and a 14th place finish in the 800M with a time of 2:53.46s.

Next was the 60M Hurdles event, where Hibbert and Rowe had terrific performances to finish 2nd and 4th overall. Hibbert ran a 9.09s in the preliminaries to advance to the finals, then bettered her time to finish 2nd at 9.06s. Rowe ran a 9.08s to finish 2nd in the preliminaries but finished 4th overall in the finals at 9.19s. The two combined to win UDC 12 points in that event.

The last track event of the day for the Firebirds was the 4x400M Relay event, where for the 5th consecutive year, UDC was an event champion. Temera Duncan ran lead-off, followed by Hibbert, Greer, and the anchor Harding, and the Firebirds beat the 2nd place team from Roberts Wesleyan by a little over one second to earn 10 points to their total.

In the field events, Okon had a tremendous leap of 4.97M to finish 2nd in the Long Jump and earn UDC eight points. Senior Iman Scott also added one point for the Firebirds as she finished 6th place with a 4.62M leap. Also, Greer placed 3rd in the Triple Jump, bounding out to 10.91M and earning UDC six points to its total.

Scott also finished 9th in the shot put event with a throw of 10.18M, and junior Tajah Franklin placed 15th with a throw of 9.44M.

First year head coach Joel Phillip said he was pleased with the team's effort and performances, and he is excited about the next season.

"We had a great meet as a team," Phillip said. "The majority of the student-athletes either had season-bests or personal bests, and this gives them a lot more confidence moving into the outdoor season this spring."

The Firebirds open the 2017 Outdoor Track & Field schedule on March 18th at the Terrapin Invitational.