Jan. 11, 2014
NEW HAVEN, Conn.- The University of Connecticut women’s track team won eight events and set eight new personal bests in what was an excellent opening meet to the 2014 season at the Yale Invitational.
In the field events, Senior Natasha McLaren started the ball rolling for the Huskies, by capturing first place in the high jump with a leap of (5-10.75).
UConn posted one-two finishes in the long jump with Sarah Bowens claiming first place on a 5.75m (18-10.50) leap, which set a new personal best for Bowens. Melodee Riley grabbed second place with a 5.67m jump (18-07.25).
Megan Chapman excelled under the guidance of assistant coach and former UConn standout Victoria Flowers, besting 26 competitors to claim first place in the weight throw with a heave of 16.12 meters (52-10.75). Seven-time All-American Victoria Flowers '13 is helping coach Morgan as an assistant coach for throwers this season, especially mentoring Chapman to her quality performance.
Connecticut earned four first place finishes on the track, winning the 400 meter, the 3,000 meter, the 60 m high hurdles, and the 4x400 meter relay. Paris Taft set a personal record with a 55.93 400m to earn first place, with teammate Nyanka Joseph taking home second place with a time of 56.98.
Sophomore Emily Durgin, who enters the 2014 Indoor Track season after an exceptional cross country campaign in the fall, topped the podium with a first place finish in the 3,000 meter run. Durgin ran for a personal best time of 9:37.69 to claim the gold.
Captain Chantal Scott bagged top prize in the 60 meter high hurdles with a personal best time of 8.63 seconds. The 4x400 meter relay team of Tiffany Daley, Deysha Smith-Jenkins, Paris Taft, and Celina Emerson boasted veteran experience to finish first with a time of 3:42.04. The group set the school record in the 4x400 last year and only missed breaking their own record by a few seconds, which bodes very well so early in the season
Celina Emerson added another UConn personal best in the 60 meter dash, finishing second with a time of 7.56 seconds. On Emerson’s heels, the Huskie’s posted consecutive finishes in third, fourth, and fifth place in the 60m. Rounding out Connecticut’s day of personal bests, Emily Howard shaved eleven seconds off of her lowest mile time to grab fifth place in 5:03.79.
Coach Morgan expressed pleasure with the athletes’ performances and, above all, focus."I was very satisfied with the focus and intensity of everyone. It certainly gave us direction for our training as we built towards conference competition."
Coach Clive Terrelonge noted that the Yale Invitational represented the best opening meet the team has ever had. “This was a tremendous opener for the team,” coach Terrelonge commented. “It was a great start for our new conference in the American. We are looking forward to getting back to work to correct some things and be better at the next competition.”
The Huskies will use this week to tune up before traveling to Armory, N.Y. on Friday, Jan. 17 to participate in the Great Dane Classic beginning at 12:30pm.