UMBC Track and Field Looking to Reach New Heights in 2017

UMBC Track and Field Looking to Reach New Heights in 2017

2017 Schedule

Baltimore, Md.—UMBC track and field looks to build off their recent success in 2017 with the indoor season opener at the Bucknell Tri-Meet on Saturday. Last year the men finished third in the league championships during the indoor season and second during outdoor, while the women took fourth and third respectively.

Bucknell Tri-Meet Info:

What: Bucknell Tri-Meet

Where: Gerhard Fieldhouse – Lewisburg, Pa.

When: Saturday, Jan. 7 – All Day

Teams Participating: UMBC, Bucknell, St. Francis University

Social Media: @umbcxctf, @AmericaEast, @UMBCAthletics, #AETF, #GritAndGlory

Quick Hits on Last Year:

Indoor:

-The men finished the indoor season with a third-place America East Championship finish, which saw senior Hassan Omar clean up on awards and gold medals at the America East Championships. The Frederick native broke the school record in the 3,000m run at the Sykes & Sabock Challenge weeks earlier, before winning the event at the championships.

-Omar also won the 5,000m at the conference meet, earning the Co-Coaches Award for most points scored by an individual as well as Most Outstanding Track Performer.

-Other top male performers at the championships were Jamal Cody (Hereford, Md./Hereford) who earned gold in the 60m hurdles, shocking the field for the win. Thomas Johnson (Purchase, N.Y.) and Ishaq Rana won both the triple jump and shot put respectively for the Retrievers.

-Nneoma and Ozi Edokobi who went one-two at the championships in the shot put led the women during the indoor season. Both qualified for the ECAC Championships where Ozi placed fifth and Nneoma took 15th.

Outdoor:

-Omar continued his dominance over the America East, capping his career with gold in the 5,000 and 10,000m runs, earing Most Outstanding Track Performer. He broke the school records in each event earlier in the season at the Penn Relays and Raleigh Relays respectively.

-Vincent Rentzsch helped the Retrievers to a second-place finish at the conference meet by winning the javelin. He previously broke the school record in the event at the Raleigh Relays during the year.

-Also at the championships, the 4x100m relay squad of Afees Abolurin (Baltimore, Md./Milford Mill), James Oakley (La Plata, Md./La Plata), Daryian Miles and John Oputa (Bowie, Md./DeMatha) earned gold thanks to a strong third leg by Miles.

-Both Rentzsch and Omar, as well as Ishaq Rana earned spots in the NCAA Preliminaries in the javelin, 10,000m and shot put respectively. Rentzsch would go on to qualify for the NCAA Championships, where he placed 21st, earning USTFCCCA Honorable All-American honors.

-The women took third at the America East Championships, led by Ozi Edokobi. She was named Most Outstanding Field Performer after taking gold in the shot put.

-Essence Fredericks got it done both individually and in relays, as she won the 400m hurdles at the meet, while being a part of the gold medal winning 4x400m relay team with Mercedes Tillman (Waldorf, Md./North Point), Yinka Alabi (Milford Mill, Md./Milford Mill) and Funmi Daramola (Silver Spring, Md./Paint Branch).

-The 4x100m relay quartet of Tillman, Amani Wallace (Baltimore, Md./Seton Keough), Erin Patrice (Baltimore, Md./Liberty) and Kara Patrice (Baltimore, Md./Liberty) broke the school record at the ECAC Championships, earning silver in the process. At the same meet, Sophia Cologer (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) broke her previous school record in the 3,000m steeplechase.

Key Returners:

-The Retrievers will turn to a pair of sophomores to lead the team in Jamal Cody and Christian Kallenberg (Germany). Cody will look to continue where he left off last year in the hurdles after winning gold at the America East Indoor Championships in the 60m in 8.14. He followed that up with a silver medal in the 110m hurdles at the outdoor championships with a season best time of 14.52. Kallenberg will compete in the heptathlon and decathlon for UMBC, where he earned sixth and third in both events at the championships last year.

-On the women's side, Sophia Cologer will cap off her career helping the distance runners. Last season Cologer set a school record in the 3,000m steeplechase at the ECAC Championships with a time of 10:35.59. The sprinters will get a boost thanks to the return of Erin and Kara Patrice. Both sisters were on the 4x100m relay team that broke the school record at the ECAC Championships in 46.08, good for silver.

Key Losses:

-UMBC will look to replace a pair of performers with multiple NCAA Championship appearances in Hassan Omar and Vincent Rentzsch. Omar capped his stellar career in Baltimore by being named Most Outstanding Track Performer at the America East Championships, and earning USTFCCCA All-Academic and America East All-Academic honors. He made it to the NCAA Championships for the second time in his career, earning a 19th place finish in the 10,000m run.

-Rentzsch left his mark in the javelin throw, where he was a three-time qualifier for the NCAA Championships in the event. He re-broke his previous career best in the event at the Raleigh Relays, the first meet of the outdoor season. He capped his career by earning his third USTFCCCA Honorable All-American selection this past June.

-The women will try to replace a duo of distance runners in Essence Fredericks and Angelina Oputa, as well as Nneoma Edokobi in the field. Both Fredericks and Oputa own records in both the distance medley relays for indoor and outdoor as well as the 4x800m relay in outdoor.

-Edokobi made a big splash during her four year career at UMBC, where she earned several top five America East finishes in the shot put. She won the event during the indoor season at the conference meet with a toss of 14.78m.

Newcomers:

-The men's side will see 16 newcomers to the team, including 15 freshmen and one sophomore transfer. Marcus Foster comes to Baltimore after competing at Mars Hill University last year.

-Bradley Arbaugh (Westminster, Md./Westminster), Matt Bennett (Dunkirk, Md./Northern), Brian Cave (Sykesville, Md./South Carroll), Elijah Hawkins (Cockeysville, Md.), Kevin McGivern (Laurel, Md./Good Counsel), Gavin Prather (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) and Miles Smith (La Plata, Md./La Plata) will help bolster the distance events, coming off a successful cross country season for the Retrievers.

-Other male newcomers include Scott Boettinger (Glenwood, Md./Glenelg), Russell Bowman (Perryville, Md.), Drew Daniels (Germantown, Md./Northwest), Chase DeWitt (Cresaptown, Md.), Brian Nelson (Upper Marlboro, Md.), Jacob Netschke (Waterford, Mich.), Michael Parkent (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake), and Alexios Prodanas (Kilkis, Greece).

-The women's team will feature eight newcomers, including sophomore Aliya Sharp (Milford Mill, Md.). Distance runners CC Davies (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West), Tori Johnson (Brooklyn, N.Y./Brooklyn Technical), Kaya Knake (Canton, Mich./Salem), Pam Koga (Churchville, Md./C. Milton Wright), Bridgett Redding (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown), and Briana Roberts (Pennsauken, N.J./Pennsauken) will look to add to an already strong distance group.  Elisabeth Kan (Rockville, Md.) is the other freshman on the team, and will look to make her mark in field events, mainly jumps.

Up Next:

-UMBC track and field will head to Staten Island for the Great Dane Classic, hosted by UAlbany on Saturday, Jan. 14.