March 17, 2003
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The athletes of the women's indoor track team enjoyed much success this year, setting new personal bests and challenging old school records at nearly every meet. An influx of new talent combined with a solid core of experience to produce many outstanding performances.
Senior pole vaulter Natalie Dye enjoyed a banner season this year, twice breaking her own school record in the event. An All-ACC performer, she ended her indoor career with a bang, reaching a school-record height of 12-9.5 at the ECAC Championships. This new height gave her first place, a spot on the All-East team and provisionally qualified her for the NCAA Championships. In all, she won the event four times this season, never finishing lower than third in the field.
Joining her in rewriting the record books was freshman standout Kierra Foster, who was a competitive force in the 60 meter hurdles and the triple and long jumps. She broke the school record in the 60 meter hurdles twice, culminating with a time of 8.49 at the UNC Indoor Madness Meet. At the Meyo Invitational, she set a new personal best in the long jump with a distance of 20-2.5. Racking up a team-high total of 18 top-five finishes, Foster was named to the All-ACC team in the long jump. She competed in the ECAC Championships in the 60 meter hurdles and the long jump, earning All-East honors in both.
Senior sprinter Devenn Hamilton ended her indoor career with several outstanding performances, including a new personal best time in the 400 meter dash set at the Virginia Tech Challenge. Two athletes that enjoyed much success despite battling injuries were junior Teyartne' Carter and freshman Shenae Dawkins. Carter competed in the 60 and 200 meter dashes, never finishing out of the top 10, and Dawkins was a consistent scorer in the 60 meter hurdles.
Junior Toni Jefferson was another leader for the Terps this season, setting team-best times in the 200 and 400 meter dashes. Also a consistent scorer in the 60 meter dash, she never finished below second in the event. Jefferson qualified for the ECAC Championships in all three areas, tying Foster for the Terp with the most qualified events.
The distance events were also strong this year, under the leadership of senior Kim Smith. She competed in the 1,000 and 3,000 meter runs this season, and never finished out of the top five in the mile. Joining her was freshman Katie Purcell, who took home all top-10 finishes this season and set a team-best time in the 5,000 meter run. Pacing the Terps in the mile and 1,000 meter run was freshman Allison Carney.
Combining their talents into relay teams, both the distance medley and the 4x400 meter relay squads qualified for the ECAC Championships. The distance team of Smith, Carney, senior Dionne Hamilton and freshman Danielle Siebert set a season-best time of 11:52.70 at the ECAC Championships. The season-best 4x400 performance was set by Carter, Jefferson and the Hamilton twins at the Meyo Invitational, where the squad took fourth place.
Off the track, Foster, Dawkins, senior Punnie Chittchang and freshman Tiffany Johnson competed in multiple jumps events for the Terps. Competing in the high jump were freshmen Jessica Taibe and Kendall Bolte, who combined for a total of seven top-10 finishes. The two posted their best jumps of the season at the Delaware Invitational, each reaching a height of 5-3.
The Terp throwers posted many impressive performances this season, led by senior Aranda Brown in the weight throw. An ECAC qualifier, Brown was a consistent scorer for the team, netting two event titles and a total of seven top-five finishes. Leading the way in the shot put was junior Labelle Hillgrove, who broke her personal record three times to finish with a new career high of 44-2.75, a distance that qualified her for the ECAC Championships. She also competed in the weight throw, winning the event at the Delaware Invitational. Joining her in the two events was freshman Zakiya Shivers, who never finished out of the top 10 in the shot put.
Although next year's indoor track team will have to compensate for the loss of several graduating seniors, the Terps will be supported by a rising class of stars that have just begun to make their marks. With the continued progress of these talented women, the team looks forward to becoming a competitive force in the ACC next year.