Hurricanes finish with 13 victories at Miami Invitational

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Sophomore Alysha Newman finished first in the pole vault at the Miami Invitational track meet on Saturday afternoon. Monica Herndon // Photo Editor

Sophomore Alysha Newman finished first in the pole vault at the Miami Invitational track meet on Saturday afternoon. Monica Herndon // Photo Editor

The ominous forecast had no effect on the UM track and field program’s performance at the Miami Invitational on Saturday.

Fans lined up to watch the Canes compete against teams from across Florida in a full day of events.

The Hurricanes sought to build off the momentum from last week’s double-digit win total at the Hurricane Invitational to claim another commanding victory at Cobb Stadium.

Miami ended up winning 13 events for a second straight meet.

“We always love running at home,” track and field director Amy Deem said. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase our program in front of family and friends.”

The winds grew more powerful as the hours passed. Distance runner AJ Ricketts said the conditions made things a little difficult, but he managed to use “drafting,” a skill where a runner positions himself behind someone to block the wind, as his way of navigating the race.

“We can be running in the snow, we can be running in the rain, we just have to face through adversity and compete,” Deem said as she overlooked her runners.

The women shined at the invitational, earning Miami nine out of their 13 wins. Freshman Shakima Wimbley won the women’s 200m with a personal-best time of 23.33 seconds, and Jamika Glades and Kayann Richards finished first and second in the women’s 100m hurdles.

“I was very pleased with Amber [Monroe] and Shakima, but I was really happy to see Jamika Glades step up,” Deem said.

On the men’s side, sophomore John-Patrick Friday won the triple jump with a 15.26m mark that ranks third in UM history. His tremendous athleticism has helped him compete against some of the best high jumpers in the nation.

“JP was really big for us in the jumps area,” Deem said.

In the 400m dash, Anthony Wolliston placed fourth. However, the story out of this race came not from Wolliston, but from Jamal Walton.

A 15-year-old from Miami Gardens, Walton managed second place in a tough race against college athletes.

“I feel really special. It all feels great,” Walton said. “I expected to come in first, though, not second. My legs gave out the last 15 meters.”

Wearing light blue Captain America socks with wings spread on each side, the rising star was sent to the Miami Invitational in an attempt to break the Junior Olympics record in the 400m. Walton will likely be a heavily recruited runner in the years to come.

Miami, meanwhile, has its eyes set on the ACC Championships starting April 17 in North Carolina. Deem and her runners will use the confidence from their two strong showings at home to capitalize in the upcoming performance among the ACC’s elite.

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