May 18, 2014
PRINCETON, N. J. – The University of Connecticut women’s track and field team continued its dominant streak at the ECAC Championships on Sunday when it claimed its fifth outdoor title in the last seven years. The women, who won the 2014 ECAC Indoor crown, have now swept both championships for the fourth time in the last eight years. Connecticut now boasts 11 overall ECAC titles as a program.
Including Saija Bikanova’s second-best heptathlon performance in school history yesterday, the Huskies finished with a total of five gold medals on the weekend. The team's 85 points outpaced second place Harvard University by 39 points.
An exceptional span of 20 minutes provided a series of highlights around noon time on the final day of competition. The 4x100m relay of Taylor Anderson, Celina Emerson, Deysha Smith-Jenkins and Nyanka Joseph started things off by racing to first place in 45.23.
Up next was Brigitte Mania in the 1,500m, who won handily with a time of 4:22.19. The senior had previously won an ECAC event with the 4x800m relay team during the 20111 indoor campaign as a sophomore, making today's win her first individual gold at the ECAC Championships.
Senior sprinter Celina Emerson also earned her first-ever gold medal at the ECAC Championship with a top finish in the 400m. Emerson, who set the school’s 400m indoor record this past February, also etched her name into the outdoor record books with a sub-53 second 400m at the American Athletic Conference Championship two weeks ago. She nearly matched that performance today, sprinting to a 52.86 finish as the lone runner to break the 53-second barrier in the finals.
The 4x800m team of Lisa Zimmer, Ana Groff, Laura Williamson, Faith Dismuke took first place with a time of 8:39.67 as the third-fastest 4x800m squad in UConn history. They are also the first quartet of Huskies to take home an ECAC title in the 4x800. Zimmer and Williamson both posted personal record efforts in the team performance.
Odrine Belot supplied a silver medal in the triple jump to add to the UConn total on the day. She covered a distance of 13.11m (43-00.25), falling just .01m short of catching the first place finisher in Coppin State’s Christina Epps. The outstanding effort ranks her in the top 10 of the NCAA East leaderboards and second all-time in the UConn outdoor record books. A repeat performance at NCAA Regionals could earn her a spot at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor National Championships in Eugene, Oregon in June.
All finishes can be seen by following the 'Complete Results' link posted above, including results from yesterday's competition that included Deysha Smith-Jenkins posting the second-fastest 200m time (23.60) in UConn outdoor history. Former UConn All-American standout Trisha-Anne Hawthorne owns the top 200m time in school history at 23.22.
"This is the best Sunday and the most number of first place finishes that I have seen at the ECAC Championship," commented interim head coach Clive Terrelonge. "The athletes deserve a lot of credit for how hard they competed all year. I am very proud of each and every one of them."
On Thursday, May 22 the NCAA will officially announce which individuals will be selected to compete at the 2014 NCAA East Regional in Jacksonville, Florida from May 29-31. A complete event schedule for the event can be found HERE.