March 22, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The University of Connecticut women’s track & field team enjoyed an excellent opening to the 2014 outdoor season at the FSU Relays this weekend, including a record-breaking performance by the 4x400 meter relay team. The Huskies took advantage of good weather to run fast season-openers and set high marks in the field events.
The 4x400 meter relay team of Celina Emerson, Tiffany Daley, Nyanka Joseph and Deysha Smith-Jenkins clinched first place in a time of 3:36.35, rewriting the UConn record book and posting the top time in Division I in the process. Emerson lead off and handed to Daley, who ran the best 400m time of her career. Nyanka Joseph continued the lead to give way for Deysha Smith-Jenkins to widen the gap and anchor the team to victory. Smith-Jenkins’ final leg capped an excellent weekend for the sophomore, who ran just off her personal bests in the 200m and 100m individual events.
UConn earned a pair of first place efforts thanks to the 4x400 meter relay and sophomore Odrine Belot. Belot captured the triple jump with a personal-best marker of 12.41M while teammate Melodee Riley was a close second at 12.36m. Brittany Power rounded out the Husky effort with a fourth place showing on an 11.93M jump.
The Huskies owned the 800 meter run, with Brigitte Mania placing second in 2:07.94 and Kat Vodopia opened the season strong with a fourth place finish in 2:12.92. UConn swept the sixth through eighth place finishes with Laura Williamson in sixth (2:14.30), Maggie Christe in seventh (2:15.13) and newcomer Lisa Zimmer grabbing eighth (2:16.60) in her first race as a Husky.
The UConn jumpers continued their high quality performances with a pair of top-five finishes in the long jump. In just two attempts, Sarah Bowens placed second by leaping for 5.96M. Saija Bikanova added a fourth place showing with a personal-best distance of 5.58m.
Also contributing a second place finish was Celina Emerson, who ran .04 seconds off the school record in the 400 meter to finish in second place (first among college athletes) in 53.09. Her time marks the top mark in NCAA Division I. Nyanka Joseph, who finished the indoor season with a big personal record in the same event, started her outdoor season in similar fashion with a career-best time of 54.76 to earn fourth place. Tiffany Daley posted her fastest season-opening time in the 400m
UConn runners set personal bests in the 200 meter dash, as Taylor Anderson posted a career-best time of 24.23 to capture eighth place Deysha Smith-Jenkins placed tenth in 24.29 and Nyanka Joseph claimed 13th place with a personal- best time of 24.43. Anderson also captured bronze in the 100m dash with another personal marker of 11.70, with Smith-Jenkins grabbing eighth place in 12.04.
Representing UConn in the 100m hurdle, senior Chantal Scott powered through clipping the second hurdle to post her fastest season-opening time in 14.53 to lay claim to seventh place.
Megan Lester competed in her first event of the season with a 36.42m toss in the javelin throw, looking to build on the effort as the season progresses. Also in the throws, Saija Bikanova mustered a heave of 12.89M in the shot put to finish in sixth.
Representing Connecticut in the 1500 meter run, Abby Mace established her best season-opening time with a 4:39.65 result on Friday.
The Huskies continues competition next weekend when they travel to Raleigh, N.C. for the Raleigh Relays March 28-29.