BALTIMORE – With just two weekends remaining until the 2014 America East Indoor Championships, the UMBC track and field teams head to the Big Apple for the 2014 Armory Collegiate Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The meet will be held at the New York Armory track, the same facility which will be used for the conference meet (Feb. 23-24). In addition, the Armory Collegiate Invitational has been selected as the USTFCCCA Division I National Meet of the Week.
UMBC put on another record-breaking display last weekend at the Penn State Nationals, led by senior Andrew Smith (Chadds Ford, Pa./Garnet Valley). The Retriever captain, who broke the school record in the 800m at the NYU Team Challenge on Jan. 24, reset the record in Happy Valley with a new top time of 1:49.15. He was named the America East Male Track Performer of the Week on Tuesday and leads the conference in the event, in addition to tying for the 13th-best time in the nation. Smith will compete in both the 800m and 1,000m events in New York.
Though she did not break her own school mark, junior Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) captured the top spot in the 200m dash at Penn State to earn the America East Female Track Performer of the Week award. Jackson bested the field with a time of 24.50 after advancing to the finals of the 60m dash on Friday evening. She currently holds the top time in the conference for the 60m dash (7.48) this season, and sits second for the 200m race with her time from Penn State. Jackson will race in both sprint events this coming weekend.
ECAC qualifier Kirsten Jones (Brentwood, Tenn./M.L.K Magnet) will join Jackson in the 200m race, in addition to competing in the 400m dash and 4x400m relay at the Armory. In Pennsylvania, Jones posted a season-best time of 24.87 in the 200m event while reaching the ECAC standard in the 400m race as well (56.44). Both times rank third in the America East entering the weekend.
Junior Alisha Beeman (Bridgeport, Conn./Bunnell/Hartford) took over the school record for the pentathlon last weekend, scoring 3,277 points at Penn State. Beeman is also the school record holder in the high jump, having cleared 1.71m (5'0.75") at the Terrapin Invitational in January and will compete in that event, as well as the long jump, in NYC. Her high jump mark sits third in the league behind Tori Shaffer of Binghamton and Brittany St. Clair of Vermont, both of whom have cleared 1.73m (5'8") this season.
Sophomore Vincent Rentzsch (Oranienburg, Germany) competed for the Retrievers for the first time this season last week and set a new personal-best in the heptathlon. An NCAA Outdoor Championships qualifier in the javelin last spring, Rentzsch scored 4,184 points in the two-day competition after winning the shot put and placing second in the long jump, 60m hurdles, and pole vault. In New York, he will focus on the 60m hurdles and the long jump.
The men's distance team has continued its success indoors following a championship cross country season. Senior Jake Albino (Hampton, N.Y./Minisink Valley) lowered his personal-best and IC4A qualifying mile time down to 4:08.97 last weekend which ranks as the second-best mark in the league this season. Sophomore Hassan Omar (Frederick, Md./Thomas Johnson), meanwhile, missed out on the UMBC school record in the 5,000m by less than a second at Penn State with a personal-best time of 14:40.20 which leads the America East. Albino is scheduled to compete in both the 1,000m and one-mile race this weekend while Omar is preparing once again for the 5,000m event.
Senior Cody Mezebish (Westminster, Md./South Carroll) and junior Sarah Daly (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion) have paced the women's distance squad, and both rank in the top-five in the conference for the 800m run. Mezebish, who broke the school record in the 1,000m (2:56.58) earlier this season, recorded a new personal-best in the 800m last week (2:14.71) to hold down the fourth-best time in the league, while Daly is right behind her in fifth (2:14.97). Both athletes are set to run in both the 800m and 1,000m in New York this weekend.
In the throws, junior Thor Serafenas (Olney, Md./Good Counsel/Clemson) will compete in both events at the Armory. He currently ranks fifth in the weight throw (17.06m; 55'11.75) and sixth in the shot put (14.73m; 48'4") in the league.