CLEMSON, S.C. – Thea LaFond took the lead in the first event of the women’s pentathlon Thursday and held on throughout the day to win the first individual title of the 2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships being hosted by Clemson.
LaFond, a Terrapin junior, scored a career-best 4,222 points to win the combined-event competition and defend her league title.
She won a day-long duel between the last two ACC pentathlon champs, as she outscored 2012 champ Karil Johonnot of Duke, who finished with 4,003. Freshman Emily Godwin of North Carolina was third with 3,898.
Maryland’s other two competitors each set personal-bests in the pentathlon. Freshman Alexandra Cimino was 17th with 3,167 points, with senior Kristi Person in 18th at 3,131.
LaFond’s win carried 10 team points, which put Maryland in third place after the first two events of the championships. Duke held the lead with 23 points with North Carolina second at 12.
LaFond won the 60-meter hurdles in a time of 8.55, earning 1,006 points for her mark, which was 0.02 seconds off her PR.
She followed with a career-best 6 feet, 0-3/4 inch mark to win the high jump, earning another 1,041 points and taking a 156-point lead over Johonnot. LaFond’s clearance was second all-time at Maryland, tied teammate Amina Smith for the best in the ACC this season and tied for third-best in the nation this season.
In the shot put, the third event of the day, LaFond went 32-8.50 to finish ninth. Johonnot won the shot at 40-4.75 to cut LaFond’s lead to just one point.
But LaFond cleared 19-8.75 in the long jump, her best mark in a pentathlon competition, to push her edge back to 211 points. Johonnot was 14th in the long jump.
LaFond finished her day with a 2:22.13 clocking in the 800-meter run to place third in the event, while Johnonnot was sixth in 2:22.73. The Terrapin junior fell just 40 points short of the meet record of Liane Weber of Clemson, who scored 4,262 in 2010.
LaFond became the first back-to-back champion in the ACC pentathlon since Weber won in 2009 and 2010. Combined with Kiani Profit’s title in 2011, Maryland has won three of the last four pentathlons at the ACC Indoor.
Cimino had PRs in the 60 hurdles (9.31), shot put (29-6) and 800 (2:24.99) on her way to her career-best point total.
Person also had personal-best marks in the 60 hurdles (10.03) and high jump (5-4.50).
The ACC Indoor continues Friday at 12:30 p.m. with the high jumps and continues into the early evening. Saturday’s final day of competition begins at 11 a.m.
ESPN3 will provide live coverage, beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday through the conclusion of the session, and on Saturday from noon until the conclusion of the
The ESPN3 live stream coverage may be accessed through the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championship page: http://theacc.co/ITFchamp .
Live results can be accessed at http://theacc.co/ITFlivestats, and additional information will be available at @ACCTrackField and Tags #ACCITF on Twitter.