Feb. 25, 2012
BOSTON, Mass.-UConn women’s track and field captured the title at the New England Championships on Saturday with a total of 123 points. The Huskies finished 46 points ahead of second place Sacred Heart as they concluded the meet with five titles and 17 top-five finishes.
“The team really came together with outstanding performances and I thought it was a pivotal meet for many of our athletes,” Head Coach Bill Morgan stated. “Natasha McLaren’s effort was superlative along with Shauna McNiff’s school record in the 3,000m.”
The Huskies grabbed three of the top four seats in the high jump with sophomore Natasha McLaren (Stroudsburg, Pa.) capturing the crown with a leap of 1.83m (6'), while junior Jasmine Cribb (Naugatuck, Conn.) was second (1.80m-5' 10 3/4") and junior Ilva Bikanova (Madonas, Latvia) was fourth (1.75m). McLaren’s first place jump is currently fourth best in the nation and Cribb's is 20th, while Bikanova's previous jump of 5' 11 1/2" is 11th in the country.
Senior Danielle Lyte (Burlington, Ontario) earned the 60 meter dash title with her meet record and new career best 7.58. Lyte continued her dominant day adding a second place finish to the day in the 200m dash in 24.65.
Lyte was joined by teammate Kewanna Donaldson (Enfield, Conn.) who was fourth (7.78) in the 60m dash. In the 60 meter hurdles, sophomore Shavon Briscoe (Brandywine, Md.) was second posting a new career-high with a time of 8.71. Freshman Brianna Allen (Windsor, Conn.) crossed the finish line fifth in the 200m dash in 24.79.
Connecticut posted two more top-five finishes in the 400 meter dash with sophomore Tiffany Daley (Northborough, Mass.) coming in second place in 55.23 and freshman Nyanka Joseph (Brooklyn, N.Y.) in fourth with a time of 56.31.
Ana Groff (Orlando, Fla.) grabbed the 500m title for the second consecutive year with a new meet record time of 1:13.37.
“It was great to see Danielle Lyte set a new meet record in the 60 meter dash and Ana Groff win the 500m for the second year in a row. Our first place relay team Jasmine Cribb’s second place high jump were also very impressive,” continued Morgan.
Other top-five finishes include, senior Shelby Donahue (Griswold, Conn.) capturing fifth place in 2:16.10 in the 800m run, senior Meghan Cunningham (Simsbury, Conn.) taking third (2:40.04) in the 1,000m run and senior Courtney Dinnan finishing fifth in the mile in 4:55.42.
With a time of 9:26.96 in the 3,000 meter run, junior Shauna McNiff earned the title to add ten points to UConn’s total. McNiff cemented her name in the UConn record book as the first place finish sets a new all-time best.
Connecticut’s 4x400m relay squad made up of Briscoe, Daley, Groff and Joseph stood tall on the podium after posting a time of 3:46.09 for first place.
“We had many breakthrough individual performances for a great team finish,” concluded Morgan.
The Huskies will continue the Championship season next weekend at the ECAC Championships.