LaFond Doubles in Jumps as Terps Open Season

Maryland Athletics
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.Thea LaFond won both the women’s high jump and triple jump, while Chioma Onyekwere captured the women’s shot put as the University of Maryland had a strong season-opening showing at the Penn State Relays on Saturday.

LaFond and teammate Amina Smith each matched their career-best of 5 feet, 11.25 inches in the high jump to finish 1-2 in the event. LaFond earned first place by virtue of fewer misses.

LaFond, a Terrapin junior, went 42-2 to win the triple jump by 16 inches over Penn State’s Marlene Ricketts and set a meet record. LaFond’s mark was just two inches off her personal record, despite competing in her first meet of the indoor season.

Onyekwere improved her PR in the shot put by a quarter inch, scoring a comfortable victory with a meet-record mark of 49-8.50.

She also added a second-place finish in the 20-pound weight throw, posting a mark of 57-9.50 in her first collegiate competition in that event. The mark moved her into seventh place on the Terps’ all-time list.

Maryland had success in the women’s 500-meter run, placing four runners in the top 10. Julie Sinkovitz was second in 1:15.54, while freshman Catherine Voelpel was fourth in 1:16.18 and moved into 10th all-time at Maryland in her collegiate debut.

Micha Powell finished sixth and Rachelle Alexander was ninth for the Terps in the 500.

The Terrapins showed the strength of its young sprinters late in the meet when three freshmen and a sophomore combined to finish third in the women’s 4x400 relay. Taylor Tucker, Ashley Brannock, Rachelle Alexander and Micha Powell went 3:49.82 in that event.

Maryland had some members of its men’s squad also competing on Saturday. Though the Terrapins are not officially competing in the indoor season, some student-athletes are participating in meets while training for outdoor.

Senior Josh Haghighi had a pair of second-place finishes in the throws. He added nearly three feet to his PR in the 35-pound weight throw, with his mark of 62-11.50 moving him into second all-time. He posted a 55-9.25 in the shot put.

Terrence Maliff went 1:06.46 in the men’s 500, with the mark tying for eighth on the all-time list.

Derek Holland, a junior transfer from Temple, finished second in the triple jump at 50-6.25, moving him into seventh all-time at Maryland. It was the first time since 1988 that anyone had cracked the Terps’ top-10 in that event.

Maryland competes next in the Terrapin Invitational, to be held at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex in Landover next Saturday. The Terps’ lone home event of the indoor season begins with both field and running events at 9 a.m.