Miami’s No. 18-ranked women’s track and field team clinched its third ACC Indoor Championship in school history and its first since 2006, edging out Clemson 85-83. Junior sprinter Shakima Wimbley was named Most Outstanding Performer with first-place finishes in the 200m race, 400m race and 4x400m relay. The men finished eighth overall at the conference championship meet in Boston.
“It was a hard-fought battle, definitely one of the hardest-fought conference championships that I’ve had the privilege to coach,” Miami Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Amy Deem said to HurricaneSports.com. “To see the kids come together the way they did and to have such a balanced team with points coming from the high jump and the triple jump and the pole vault and the throws and on the track, I’m just really proud of them. They stuck together as a team and never got rattled. They really wanted this and believed in themselves. That’s why we have a championship.”
Senior thrower Tiffany Okieme got the team rolling on Friday with a silver medal in the women’s weight throw.
In the field events on Saturday, senior jumper Dakota Dailey-Harris cleared 1.83m to win the women’s high jump, Miami’s first title in the event since 2008. The jump is also a new school record and personal best. After dueling with Duke’s Megan Clark in the women’s pole vault, senior Alysha Newman finished second at a height of 4.42m.
Junior Ebony Morrison was the first to medal in the running events Saturday, earning the silver in the women’s 60m hurdles with a time of 8.19, the fifth-best time in school history.
Three members of the women’s 4x400m relay qualified for the two heats of the women’s 400m final. In heat two, Wimbley was challenged early but her strength allowed her to cross the finish line with ease to win the event in 52.63 seconds. Fellow relay members junior Aiyanna Stiverne and freshman Brittny Ellis finished fourth and seventh, respectively.
Stiverne and Wimbley also made it to the women’s 200m final. Wimbley made a lot of ground on the back stretch against Clemson’s Deja Parrish and once again used her long stride to her advantage on the home straightaway to win the event at 23.20. Stiverne finished fifth in the event.
In the quest for the team title, Clemson, Miami and Notre Dame were within three points of each other going into the championship-deciding event: the women’s 4x400m relay. In the final heat of the event, Notre Dame, Miami, Clemson and Duke squared off amid the roar of the crowd. It was a close contest during the first two exchanges, but sophomore Destiny Washington, Stiverne, Ellis and Wimbley prevailed to win the event and lift the Hurricanes to their first ACC Indoor Championship in 10 years. They finished with a time of 3:34.72.
“I’ve been very motivated training with them,” Wimbley told former Cane great Lauryn Williams on ESPN3. “We all have the talent, we all train very hard and we’re all great athletes, so I knew that if I came out here and if I execute the best race I can, it would motivate them and we all would come out with a win.”
The Canes are next in action on March 11-12 for the NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.