RICHMOND, Va. – Just one meet into the 2011-12 winter season, two VCU Track & Field athletes have already reserved a spot at the ECAC Championships after impressive individual performance at the CNU Holiday Open held this past weekend.
VCU freshman Alexis Stroman (pictured below) not only claimed first place honors in the finals of the 60 meter hurdles, but also set a school record in the event. After placing ninth in the preliminaries (9.34 seconds), Stroman exploded in the finals, crossing the finish line in 8.68 seconds. The 8.68 second run qualified Stroman for the ECAC Championships, as her time was better than the 8.80 qualifying time. The Cheltenham, Md., native also broke current teammate Rachel Montague's school record of 8.85 seconds, that was set in 2010.
"I'm really proud of Alexis," said VCU Head Coach Jon Riley. "She got off to a bad start in the prelims, stumbling over the 3rd hurdle, but she managed to keep her balance and stay on her feet to finish the race. She came back in the slow heat of the finals and blew away the competition for her 1st collegiate victory. For a freshman to come back that strong after a mishap in the prelims tells me a lot about her willingness to fight through adversity. The goal for this past weekend was to work on the fundamental things we stressed during the 13 weeks of training. She did just that in the finals and the results were pretty good. We have a good group of athletes that will continue to push one another and you will see outstanding performances not only from Alexis, but the other athletes that are willing to put in the work."
Redshirt sophomore Jaleesa Williams broke her own school record in the women's shot put, as her throw sailed 14.17 meters at the meet in Newport News. Williams' previous school record, which came back in 2010, traveled 13.64 meters. The Virginia Beach, Va., native also qualified for the ECAC Championships, as her throw went farther than the 13.50 qualifying mark set by the ECAC.
"I'm just happy to see Jaleesa back in action after coming off a season ending injury," added Riley. "I expect a lot from her and it wasn't a surprise to me that she came out with a throw like that at our first meet. Coach Tussing said Jaleesa has been putting in a considerably high level of work in practice and in the weight room and it all came together as she became the first thrower in school history to reach over 46 feet. She'll tell you there is a lot more left in the tank and we're looking forward to seeing how far she can put it as the season progress."
The Rams have a several week layoff as the semester draws to a close, before starting things back up after the New Year at the Father Diamond Invitational hosted by George Mason University on January 7th.