RICHMOND, Va. – If you looked up "perfect track & field conditions" on Google, blustery winds and heavy rain probably don't make the list. However, that's what the VCU track & field programs dealt with Saturday afternoon at their first home meet in over a year at the VCU Invitational.
The meet was actually cut a few hours short and an official winner was unable to be declared after lightning surrounded the Metro Richmond area for much of the afternoon. That didn't slow down the Black & Gold, who grabbed 15 top-five finishes on the day.
"I was pleased with the efforts our kids give today in very tough conditions," Head Coach Jon Riley said. "Bottom line is that you can't let the conditions be an excuse because it's the same for all the athletes, our kids didn't do that today and took another solid step toward being prepared for the ultimate goal at the conference meet in a few weeks."
Earlier this week, Riley spoke about fine tuning some things including both 4x100 meter relay teams. Look like both squads got the message, taking home the top spot on both the men's and women's side. The senior quartet of Kyle Jones, Donnie Seward, Allan Moody and DeAngelo Wilson broke the line in 41.71, while the women's team of senior Quina Fortune, junior Jazlynn Finney, sophomore Dionna Hayes and freshman Niaimani Aduma clocked in at 46.37.
Those weren't the only victories on the day for the Rams as Wilson took home the title in the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.09, sophomore Jennifer McAvoy claimed her first collegiate title with a leap of 37' 5 ¼" in the triple jump, junior Julia Anyaugo topped her competition in the discus throw with a mark of 149' 3" and senior Walid Berkhedle posted the best time, 3:53.31, in the 1500-meter run.
Other highlights from the day include junior Allison Morris finishing second in the high jump (5' 5"), Hayes finishing second in the 100-meter dash (11.80) and Fortune finishing second in the 200-meter dash at 24.60. Freshman Andre Hunter posted a strong showing in the long jump with a leap of 22' 7 ¾", good for fourth place in the event.
Wilson, who is in his fifth season after battling hamstring issues for much of his career, rounded out a great afternoon with a third-place finish in the 100-meter dash, clocking in at 10.39.
"DeAngelo had a pretty good day and that's what we're going to need from him come conference time," Riley said. "As a veteran on this squad, he's going to need to continue to show his leadership skills if we want to reach the goals we set for the team entering this year."
The Rams return to action next Saturday as they head out to the JMU Invitational in Harrisonburg, Va.