LANDOVER, Md. - The Maryland track and field team hosted the annual Terrapin Invitational Saturday with a solid performance from both squads including six event victories and two new school records. The Terps won the women’s long jump, men’s 60 meter, women’s 60 meter hurdles, women’s 300 meter, women’s 600 meter events, and women’s 4x400 meter relay. The team faced off against other teams from the DMV, including George Washington, Towson, Loyola, Johns Hopkins, Navy and others at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex in Landover, Md.
“Our focus for today was just to protect the house,” said head coach Andrew Valmon. “We went in, wanted to be successful across the board, from the field, to the throws, and on the track. I felt like we made our mark…now we’re going to gear up and get ready for the bigger half of our season.”
The Maryland women dominated the field in the team standings with a combined score of 200, outpacing second place Towson (103.50) by nearly 100 points. The men also fared well with their attached entries, posting a team score of 91 for third overall.
Junior Alex Leto and Senior Lisa Meneau both broke school records Saturday in the men’s and women’s 300 meter races. Meneau, with a mark of 38.58, reset her own school record with a new personal best. Leto broke the men’s 300 meter school record with a time of 34.92 with senior Paul Joseph right behind him, coming in at 35.02, good for second all-time at Maryland.
Sophomore AJ Ruffin topped the field in the men’s 60 meter contest, winning with a time of 6.91.
Junior Peyton Wade placed first in the women’s 60 meter hurdles with a mark of 8.84. Several other Terps weren’t far behind. Sophomore Jewel Smith finished third (9.01) with Junior Kayla Richardson directly behind her finishing in fourth (9.23). Senior Taylor Tucker finished the event in eight (9.53). Along with Wade’s first place finish in the 60m hurdles, she also finished second in the women’s high jump clearing 1.71 meters.
Maryland had a strong showing in the women’s 300 meter dash as well. With Lisa Meneau breaking the school record and coming in first (38.58), several Terps followed closely behind. Senior Micha Powell finished second only two tenths of a second behind Meneau (38.77). Junior Chandler Baxter came in fifth (41.34) and senior Taylor Tucker finished in eleventh (42.96). Coach Valmon said after the meet, “I felt like those ladies were going to run well…but running like that was a tremendous effort.”
The men’s 300 meter dash, much like the women’s 300, was dominated by Terps. Alex Leto’s record breaking second place performance (34.92) was followed by Paul Joseph in third (35.02), senior Dahri Jahn-Richardson in fourth (35.55) and sophomore Hazem Miawad in seventh (36.26).
Seniors Rachelle Alexander, Catherine Voelpel, and Micha Powell, along with freshman Dallyssa Huggins sprinted their way to a first place finish in the women’s 4x400 meter relay race. Maryland’s ‘B’ team, featuring sophomores Thaila Cooper, Jewel Smith, and Obichi Onwukwe, with junior Vickie Ajimoko secured seventh in the race.
Maryland highlighted the Women’s 800 meter race, with six competitors finishing in the top 15. Senior Catherine Voelpel led the Terps with a time of 2:16.27, giving her second in the event. Senior Rachelle Alexander came in fourth (2:18.33), Senior Alexa Squirini in eighth (2:21.74), sophomore Gaby Go in ninth (2:22.23), freshman Paige Novak in tenth (2:22.47), followed by junior Vickie Ajimoko in fourteenth (2:25.22).
Maryland’s runners in the men’s 800 meter run also performed exceptionally. Three Terps finished in the top ten. Sophomore TJ Bleichner led the Terps with a second place finish (1:56.90) followed by Sophomore Jared Loadholt in seventh (1:57.67) and freshman Kameron Jones in eighth (1:57.93).
Maryland turned in some big performances in the throws, with Claudia Ababio finishing as the top collegian in the shot put (14.60m) and weight throw (18.69m). Junior Nick Pulli was also the top collegiate competitor in the men’s shot put, throwing 15.89 meters to top the field of attached athletes.
Maryland track and field will feature in two different meets next Friday, January 27th. The Terps will make the short trip to Annapolis to face off in the Navy Wesley Brown Invitational and will also travel to University Park, Pa. to appear in the Penn State National Open Invite.