BALTIMORE – For the second consecutive season, the UMBC track and field team will host the Big Dawg Invitational at UMBC Stadium. The meet will kick-off on Saturday, March 29 with the hammer throw competition at 10:00 a.m., adjacent to the UMBC Softball Stadium. The first event on the track will be the 3,000m steeplechase which is scheduled to begin at 10:45 a.m.
UMBC opened its spring season last weekend as the Retrievers traveled to Tallahassee, Fla. for the FSU Relays. Multiple athletes recorded career and season-bests with three Retrievers earning America East Performer of the Week awards for their efforts.
Senior Dennison Long (Greenbelt, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt/FIU) opened his final spring campaign for the Retrievers with blistering runs in the 100m (10.57) and 200m dash (21.09) events. Long placed second in both races, but set a new career-best in the 200m event and was named both the America East Male Track Performer of the Week and the Corvais ECAC Men's Track and Field Division I Athlete of the Week. He will compete in both events again this weekend on his home track.
Sophomore Vincent Rentzsch (Oranienburg, Germany/Elite Sportschule Potsdam) made it a clean sweep of the weekly conference awards for the men's team after a weekend of solid performances in the Sunshine State. Rentzsch, a 2013 NCAA Championships participant and school record holder in the javelin, competed in three events at FSU, taking the top spot in the javelin (66.09m; 216'10"). He also placed seventh in the discus (40.47m; 132'9") and eighth in the shot put (13.93m; 45'8.5"). At the Big Dawg Invitational, Rentzsch will compete in each of these three events, in addition to the pole vault.
Junior Alisha Beeman (Bridgeport, Conn./Bunnell/Hartford) completed the award-winning trio for UMBC, garnering the America East Female Field Performer of the Week honor after breaking the Retriever program record in the javelin. Beeman posted a top toss of 41.92m (137'6") to snap the previous mark of 41.40m (135'10) set in 2008, and claim her third school record. The versatile junior also won the high jump (1.68m; 5'6") in Tallahassee and placed 13th in the long jump (4.71m; 15'5.5"). Beeman will add the triple jump to her schedule this weekend to give her four events at the home meet.
Junior sprinter Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) also got off to a fast start at FSU, meeting the ECAC standard in both the 100m (11.74) and 200m (24.38) events. Looking to gain another trip to the NCAA Championships, Jackson will compete in both races on Saturday. At last year's meet, Jackson broke the UMBC Stadium record in the 200m dash, winning the event with a time of 23.60. She will be joined by senior Deborah Adelola (Lanham, Md./Bladensburg), freshman Nailah Johnson (Capitol Heights, Md./Friendly), sophomore D'Nique Phillip (Elkton, Md./North East), sophomore Tessa Seale (Columbia, Md./Hammond), and freshman Mercedes Tillman (Waldorf, Md./North Point) in both events.
Joining Rentzsch in the throwing events, senior Yao Adantor (Laurel, Md./Reservoir/Morgan St./Maryland) looks to break his own school record (16.60m; 54'5.50") in the shot put after coming close last week. Adantor posted a top toss of 16.59m (54'5.25") at Florida State while also competing in the discus. He will take part in both events at the Big Dawg Invitational on Saturday.
In the hurdles, veterans Trae Proctor (Brandywine, Md./Thomas Stone) and Paulette Fogle (Washington, D.C./Bishop McNamara) will lead the Retrievers. Proctor, the school record holder and two-time America East gold medalist in the 110m hurdles, started his season last weekend just off his record-pace (14.12) at FSU with an IC4A-worthy time of 14.14. He will compete in the 110m and 400m hurdles on Saturday. Fogle, the school record holder in the 400m hurdles (1:00.83), started her season with the 400m hurdles and 400m dash at FSU, but will compete in the hurdle event, as well as the 800m run, in Baltimore.