Track Teams Head to Blacksburg for ACC Indoor Championships

Maryland Athletics
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February 15, 1999

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The men's and women's indoor track teams resume their 1999 seasons this weekend when they travel to Blacksburg, Va., to compete in the ACC Indoor Championships this Friday and Saturday. The Terps were idle last weekend after a flurry of activity in January and early February. Maryland's women's team finished sixth at last year's ACC indoor meet, the men placed seventh. The Terps had a pair of women earn All-ACC indoor honors last year in pole vaulter Jamie Dorshimer and thrower Heather Atkinson.

On the women's team: "We're healthy. It's clear in everyone's mind what we need to do, and that's to finish in the top three. We have a plan to reach that goal, and we're anxious to get down to Blacksburg and put it into practice. We have one concern in pole vaulter Jaime Dorshimer, who finished second in the event at the ACC's last year but who is nursing a back injury right now and won't be at full strength. We do have some things working for us, however, in sprinter Candyce DeLoatch and weight thrower Ruth Kura stepping up of late that hopefully will balance things out. I see five teams fighting for the top three spots -- North Carolina, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State and Maryland. I think it will come down to who qualifies people that need to qualify, and that if mistakes are made, teams will pay for those mistakes."

On the men's team: "Our situation with the men is different from our situation with the women. We will be emphasizing freshman Dontae Bugg, who we will have compete in the 60 hurdles, 60 meter dash, 200 meters, and long jump. I think we could have a surprise in weight thrower Jamie Wu, who on paper is one of the top throwers in the ACC. We hope our 4x400 relay team can finish in the top five. The key for us is to get people in the finals and do well in the relays in addition to relying on Dontae Bugg. We will be taking Asa Heath, a top hurdler, but he has been nursing a foot injury all season and he will not be at full strength."

Although it has been hectic, the last month has seen the track teams accomplish a great deal. The women's team, in particular, has enjoyed much success. They have used impressive showings in each of the last four meets to vault themselves into the top 15 of the national dual meet power rankings. The men's team is rated 51st nationally this week. The rankings are compiled by Idaho State University.

Junior sprinter Candyce DeLoatch (Pittsgrove, N.J.), who has twice broken the school indoor record in the 400 meters this season, has provisionally qualified for the NCAA Championships in that event. DeLoatch has clocked a season best time of 54.55 in the event, bettering the previous school record of 55.73 set in 1991 by Sharon Scotland. Her mark trails only Samantha George of Florida State in the ACC (54.49).

A total of 13 women and four men have qualified for the ECAC and IC4A Championships, respectively (see list on this release). Nikki Webster has qualified in three events: the triple jump, long jump and 500 meters, and Stacey Minott has qualified in the 60 meters and 55 meters. The Terps have also qualified both the distance medley and 4x400 relays on the women's side. On the men's side, Asa Heath and Dontae Bugg have qualified in the 55 hurdles, Jason Joubert in the 500 meters, and Jamie Wu (35 lb. weight). The men's 4x400 relay team also has qualified.

Following a five-week break from competition, the University of Maryland men's and women's indoor track and field teams return to action this Saturday when they participate in the Father Diamond Memorial Invitational at George Mason University. Twelfth-year head coach Bill Goodman anticipates taking a contingent of 25-30 women and approximately 20-25 men to this weekend's invitational at Fairfax, Va. The meet is scheduled to begin at noon at the Recreation Sports Complex on the campus of George Mason University. The Terps opened their season the weekend of Dec. 4-5 when they participated in the Navy and Bucknell invitationals, but have not competed since because of final exams and the holiday break.

As of Jan. 4, University of Maryland is one of 17 teams scheduled to participate in Saturday's Father Diamond Memorial Invitational. The Terps will be joined by a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference teams - Virginia and Duke - as well as host George Mason, Penn State, Syracuse, Georgetown, Villanova, William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth, Florida International, North Carolina A&T, Norfolk State, Coppin State and LaSalle.

Maryland had five women and two men achieve individual-event ECAC and IC4A qualifying marks, respectively, on the opening weekend of the indoor track season last month. For the women, those reaching ECAC qualifying standards included long jumper Melody Vaughn (19-3 1/4), triple jumper Nikki Webster (39-7), pole vaulter Jaime Dorshimer (10-0), 55-meter hurdler Thema Napier (8.00) and 55-meter sprinter Stacy Minott (6.9). In addition, the Terps' 4x400 meter relay team of Thema Napier, Melody Vaughn, Nikki Webster and Candyce DeLoatch qualified for the ECAC's with a time of 3:53.00. Individual men's IC4A qualifiers included high hurdlers Dontae Bugg (7.3) and Asa Heath (7.4). The men's 4x400 meter relay team of Trevor Graves, Justin James, Richard Mahy and Jason Joubert also qualified, posting a time of 3:21.4. The ECAC Championships are slated for Feb. 27-28 in Boston. The IC4A Championships, also to be held in Boston, will take place March 6-7. The NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships are slated for March 5-6 in Indianapolis.

"We got off to a good start with our performance in early December, but my concern now is how we respond coming off the Christmas holiday break. We'll be working very hard these first few weeks in January to get everyone in proper shape as we look ahead to the ACC meet. The Father Diamond Invitational provides us an opportunity to participate in a quality meet in our effort to get back in proper shape. If the athletes were able to maintain their fitness levels, it's certainly possible someone could hit an ECAC or IC4A qualifying mark. We used our first two meets back in December to see if we were on target or ahead of last year's pace, and one the women's side I feel that we have the potential to be in the top three [of the ACC]. The concern, though, is how we come off the Christmas break. On the men's side, I felt we had a decent start in the 4x400 relay and in the hurdles with freshman Dontae Bugg and senior Asa Heath. We still need to work on some other areas. Bugg, who is a freshman, has the potential to be a very fine hurdler, one of the best we've had in some time. Heath qualified for the IC4A meet with his performance at the Navy Invitational, but he has been experiencing inflammation in the tendons in his foot and we will have to evaluate him this week to see if he competes at the Father Diamond Invitational. We need to rest him and get him ready for the conference meet. Our mile relay team, which is made up of walk-ons, has been working extremely hard and has the potential to be the best relay team we've had in the last 5-6 years. That group is comprised of Trevor Graves, Justin James, Richard Mahy and Jason Joubert, with John Carr always fighting for a spot. On the women's side, I'm excited about our throwers. I feel they will be the key to our season. Another key will be keeping people healthy. Last year at the ACC women's meet, only 14 points separated the third place team from the sixth place team. If you lose someone, you could easily get knocked down a peg or two."

The meets were very successful overall for the Terps as an inordinate number of athletes qualified for the ECAC's and IC4A's. The upperclassmen played a pivotal role in the team's success, yet freshmen such as Dontae Bugg stepped up and showed why the Terps are poised to improve upon last year's ACC finish.


D4    Navy Invitational
      at Annapolis, Md.
D5    Bucknell Invitational
      at Lewisburg, Pa.
D5    West Virginia Pentathlon
      at Morgantown, W.Va.
J9    Father Diamond
      at Fairfax, Va.
J16   Delaware
      at Newark, Del.
J23   Army, Manhattan, Lehigh, Lafayette
      at West Point, N.Y.
J30   ACC vs. SEC Challenge
      at Gainesville, Fla.
F5-6  Husker Invitational
      at Lincoln, Neb.
F19-  ACC Championships
  20  at Blacksburg, Va.
F27   ECAC's (Women)
      at Boston, Mass.
M6    IC4A's (Men)
      at Boston, Mass.
M5    NCAA's
      at Indianapolis, Ind.
NCAA Qualifiers
Candyce DeLoatch (400m, prov.)

ECAC Qualifiers
Cathy Porter (20-lb. weight)
Heather Atkinson (20.-lb. weight)
Melody Vaughn (long jump)
Nikki Webster (TJ/LJ/500 meters)
Jaime Dorshimer (pole vault)
Thema Napier (55 hurdles)
Stacey Minott (60 meters/55 meters)
Tiffany Hester (55 hurdles)
Vanessa Jones (high jump)
Candyce DeLoatch (400 meters)
Tesheya Hoist (200 meters)
Ruth Kura (20 lb. weight)
Rebecca Mack (1000 meters)
Distance Medley relay
Women's 4x400 relay

IC4A Qualifiers
Asa Heath (55 hurdles)
Dontae Bugg (55 hurdles)
Jamie Wu (35 lb. weight)
Jason Joubert (500 meters)
Men's 4x400 relay