NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – This time of year is full of surprises, but usually they are saved for later in the month of December.
The Virginia Commonwealth University women's track & field team decided to deliver their "surprises" early with an outstanding showing at the Christopher Newport Holiday Open as the Rams posted 16 top-10 finishes as the first indoor meet of the season.
"I'm really pretty pleased with the showing we had this weekend," Head Coach Jon Riley said. "I'm somewhat surprised because we had a pretty tough week of practice and this is not a meet we look to hit big marks and run really fast times. It was just another practice for us in our eyes. I commend our ladies for toughening up and putting forth such a tremendous effort."
A trio of sprinters led the way with freshman Dionna Hayes (Bowie, Md.), senior Whitney Key (Goochland, Va.) and sophomore Jazlyn Finney (Leesburg, Va.) (left) all capturing top-10 finishes in the 55-meter dash.
In just her first meet in the Black & Gold, Hayes broke a school record and posted a personal best with a time of 7.06, good for a second-place finish. Key also posted a career-best with a time of 7.28, finishing fourth, while Finney clocked in at 7.41, good for 10th place.
Freshman Chaneka Perry (Newport News, Va.) returned to her hometown and posted two top-10 finishes including a third-place leap of 37' 8" in the triple jump.
The depth and the balance of the Rams' scoring possibilities were shown in the throwing events with sophomore Samantha Mosley (Farmville, Va.) and freshman Jaleesa Williams (Virginia Beach, Va.) finishing in the top-eight and both posted personal bests in the shot put. Mosley's toss of 42' 4" took sixth place, while Williams was just a half-inch behind her in seventh place.
Also in the throwing events, sophomore Brandy Preston (Rocky Mount, Va.) tossed a personal best of 48' 4" in the weight throw to finish sixth in the event.
Rounding out the strong showings on the weekend were sophomores Nicole Walters (Orange, Va.), who earned a second-place finish with a time of 1:40.83 in the 600-meter run, and Stephanie Newing (Virginia Beach, Va.), who finished fourth in the pole vault, clearing 10' 4".
The Rams will have the Christmas break off before returning to the track on January 16th, when they travel to Annapolis, Md. to compete in the Navy Invitational.