BALTIMORE – As the calendar turns to May, the UMBC track and field team enters the championship portion of its season, beginning with the America East Outdoor Track and Field Championships this weekend. The two-day meet at the University of Vermont's Frank H. Livak Track and Field Facility begins on Saturday, May 3 and runs through the afternoon on Sunday.
The competition will open with the decathlon at 10:00 a.m., with the track events commencing at 1:00 p.m. with the men's 1,500m run.
UMBC enters the weekend after another record-breaking trip to Philadelphia for the Penn Relays. At the 120th edition of the meet, the Retrievers broke three school records as the UMBC athletes competed against a national field at Franklin Field.
Junior Thor Serafenas (Olney, Md./Good Counsel/Clemson) broke his own record in the hammer throw for the second time this season while winning the event at Penn. Serafenas leads the America East with his toss of 59.59m (195'6"), while ranking 43rd in the NCAA East region. He will also compete in the shot put and discus this weekend at Vermont.
He will be joined in the discus and shot put by senior Yao Adantor (Laurel, Md./Reservoir/Morgan State/Maryland) while senior Ray Stinsman III (Mt. Laurel, N.J./Lenape) will compete in the discus and hammer. Adantor, the school record holder in the shot put, sits second in the conference with his season-best toss of 16.59m (54'5.25") with Serafenas ranking seventh. In the discus, Adantor ranks tied for fourth in the league (44.65m; 146'6"), while Serafenas is seventh (43.06m; 141'3"), once again.
Junior Alisha Beeman (Bridgeport, Conn./Bunnell/Hartford) reset her own UMBC mark in the javelin last week and will add the high jump and triple jump to her repertoire this weekend. Beeman, who was named the America East Field Performer of the Week, as well as the Corvais ECAC Division I – South Women's Field Athlete of the Week, recorded a heave of 43.92m (144'1") last week at Penn and ranks second in the conference in the event. She also ranks second in the league in the high jump, an event she won at the America East indoor meet after clearing a school record height of 1.74m (5'8.5").
Junior Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) led off for the record-breaking 4x200 relay team last weekend and heads to Vermont looking to continue her dominance at the conference meet. She swept the 60m and 200m dash events at the indoor championships to bring her individual gold medal haul up to eight in five America East meets. Last year at Binghamton, Jackson won the 100m and 200m sprints and was named the meet's Most Outstanding Female Track Athlete. This year, Jackson has recorded the fastest outdoor times in both events and ranks tied for 62nd (11.71) in the NCAA East Region in the 100m dash and 69th (23.96) in the 200m event.
For the men, senior Dennison Long (Greenbelt, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt/FIU) will try to continue his torrid pace and replicate his success from last season where he won both short sprint events and earned the Most Outstanding Male Track Performer award. This year, Long leads the America East in both events with personal-best times, regionally ranking tied for 25th in the 200m race (20.86) and tied for 26th in the 100m event (10.26).
Senior Trae Proctor (Brandywine, Md./Thomas Stone), who broke his own school record in the 110m hurdles earlier this spring, will attempt to win his third America East gold medal in the event. He currently leads the conference by over a half-second with his top time of 13.88 and sits ninth in the East region.
In the distance events, the Retrievers will try to pick up key points after a record breaking season. After snapping seven school records during the indoor season, the UMBC distance runners have claimed three more during the 2014 outdoor season.
Seniors Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley) and Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) each broke the school record in the 800m run two weeks ago at the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton. Smith, who won the conference indoor 800m race and advanced to the NCAA Championships, leads the conference with his top time of 1:49.64 and ranks 36th in the region. Mezebish, meanwhile, is third in the America East with her UMBC record time of 2:10.38.
Sophomore Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson) turned in a career-best performance in the 5,000m at the Princeton meet with a time of 14:21.69, two weeks after recording a personal-best time of 30:29.68 in the 10,000m at the Mason Spring Invitational. The 2013 America East champion in the 10k, Omar ranks second in both events heading into the weekend.
In the 3,000m steeplechase, sophomore Redatu Semeon (Waldorf, Md./Thomas Stone) leads a trio of Retrievers in the top-six going to Vermont. He posted a career-best time of 9:07.52 at the Larry Ellis Invitational to jump up to fourth in the school record book.
Freshman Sophia Cologer (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) took hold of the UMBC women's record in the event at the Morgan State Legacy Meet on April 18 and ranks sixth in the conference with her time of 11:22.35.
In the jumps, senior Shioma Obemeata (New Rochelle, N.Y./Iona Prep/St. Francis) will try to win his first outdoor medal in the triple jump and currently ranks second in the league standings. Last year, Obemeata won the indoor triple jump and, two weeks ago, broke his outdoor personal-record with a leap of 14.90m (48'10.75") at the Morgan State meet.