NEW ORLEANS – The UMBC women's track and field team is ranked No. 13 in the Mid-Atlantic Region in the first United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) poll of the season, the organization announced on Tuesday morning.
Penn State holds the top spot in the poll, followed by Pittsburgh, Maryland, Villanova, and Monmouth.
The Retrievers took second at the 2013 America East Indoor Track and Field Championships, their best finish since joining the conference during the 2003-04 academic year. Head coach David Bobb and his staff were named the America East Coaching Staff of the Year following the meet. Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) swept the 60m and 200m dash events at the meet while Amanda Deller won the shot put and the weight throw. In addition, Paulette Fogle (Washington, D.C./Bishop McNamara) captured the 500m dash title and the 4x400 relay team won gold.
Jackson, the school record holder for both sprint events, also became the fourth Retriever in school history to reach the NCAA Championships where she finished 13th overall in the 60m dash to earn Second Team All-America honors.
UMBC returns 25 athletes from that squad this season, including Jackson and Fogle. In addition, senior Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) returns to lead the distance crew after captaining the cross country team to its best-ever finish at the conference championships in the fall.
So far this year, the Retriever women have broken two school records with Mezebish toppling the mark in the 1,000m run (2:56.58) and junior Alisha Beeman (Bridgeport, Conn./Bunnell/Hartford) snapping the record in the high jump by clearing 1.71m (5'7.25"). In addition, three athletes – Beeman, Jackson, and senior Kirsten Jones (Brentwood, Tenn./M.L.K. Magnet) – have qualified for the ECAC Championships to be held in Boston in March, in addition to the 4x400 relay squad.
The UMBC track and field teams continue their indoor season by splitting up to compete at both the Penn State Nationals and the Patriot Games at George Mason on Friday and Saturday.