Women's Track Gets Ready for ECAC's

Maryland Athletics
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February 24, 1999

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland will send 13 women to the Eastern Colleges of America Conference (ECAC) Championships in Boston, Mass., this Saturday. Each has qualified for the competition by achieving ECAC standards in their respective event. Senior Nikki Webster (Richmond, Va.) has qualified in three events (triple jump, long jump, 500) to lead the Terps. The team will be best represented in the 20-pound weight throw as three of the women have qualified in that event. In addition, the 4x400 meter relay team and the distance medley relay team will be competing.

Day one of the ACC Championships in Blacksburg, Va., saw the womens team compete in the preliminaries of the sprinting events, as well as the finals of some of the field events. Junior Candyce DeLoatch (Pittsgrove, N.J.) once again led the women. DeLoatch had the fourth best qualifying time in both the 200 meters (24.36) and the 400 (55.22). Also faring well for the women was junior Stacey Minott (Greenburg, N.Y.), who had the fourth best qualifying time in the 60 (7.57). Senior Tesheya Hoist (Rocky Mount, N.C.) also fared well in the 60, as her time of 7.65 was good for seventh place in the preliminaries. Hoist also had the eighth best time of 24.59 in the qualifying round of the 200. Sophomore Rebecca Mack (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) had the fifth best time of 2:14.68 in the preliminary heats of the 800. In the finals of the field events, junior Jaime Dorshimer (Slatington, Pa.) took sixth place in the pole vault; senior Melody Vaughn (Houston, Texas) finished sixth in the long jump; senior Heather Atkinson placed sixth in the shot put and freshman Tracey Ojeniyi (Sewell, N.J.) took seventh in the shot put. The Terps finished the day in seventh place.

Strong performances from freshman Ruth Kura (North Potomac, Md.), as well as DeLoatch and Minott, propelled the Terps to a fifth place finish in the final day of the championships. Kura was part of Marylands 1-3-4 finish in the 20 pound weight. Her throw of 56-8 1/2 was good for first place, while senior Heather Atkinson (Urbana, Ill.) placed third and junior Cathy Porter (Millersville, Md.) took fourth. DeLoatch fared well in two events as she finished third in the 400 with a school-record time of 54.17 and sixth in the 200 with a time of 24.42. Her time in the 400 marked the third time she has broken the school record this season. The record had previously been set eight years ago. Minott took third in the 60 with a time of 7.47, which was a personal best. The University of North Carolina won the womens competition. They were followed by Clemson, Georgia Tech, Florida State, and Maryland.

In the mens competition, freshmen Dontae Bugg (Newport News, Va.) and James Gondak (Doylestown, Pa.), as well as junior Jamie Wu (Chicago, Ill.) were the strongest performers as the team finished ninth. Bugg set a season best in taking fifth place in the 60 hurdles with a time of 8.02. Wu unleashed a throw of 52-5 1/2 in the shot put, which was good for fifth place. Right behind him was Gondak, whose throw of 50-10 3/4 was good for seventh place. In addition, the 4x400 meter relay team placed fourth with a time of 3:16.99, marking a season best. Clemson University won the mens competition. They were followed by North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Florida State.

On the womens ACC Championships: "We had a good meet. Of course, there were some things we could do better. But we had a lot of personal bests and we came within about a point of fourth place. I felt like we had a good performance."

On the mens ACC Championships: "Dontae Bugg qualified for the IC4As as a true freshman. I thought our mile relay team ran solid. Unfortunately, we didnt have too many people qualify for the finals."

On the ECACs this week: "For anyone who hasnt qualified for the NCAAs, thats going to be a goal (this weekend). Were going to have a similar attitude as last weekend. Were going to try to qualify a lot of people and score a lot of points and hopefully come out on top."

Maryland mens and womens 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 weekends 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 Saturdays 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 ECACs with a time of 3:53.00. Individual mens IC4A qualifiers included high hurdlers Dontae Bugg (7.3) and Asa Heath (7.4). The mens 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. Well 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, its 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 years pace, and one the womens 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 mens 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 weve 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 weve 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 womens side, Im 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 womens 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 ECACs and IC4As. The upperclassmen played a pivotal role in the teams success, yet freshmen such as Dontae Bugg stepped up and showed why the Terps are poised to improve upon last years ACC finish.