Seniors go out on high note in track’s last home meet of season

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Freshman Anne Den Otter (23) runs the 5000m during the 2016 Hurricane Alumni Invitational hosted at Cobb Stadium Saturday afternoon. Den Otter won the women’s 5000m with a personal-best time of 18:14.36. Cody Sklar // Contributing Photographer

Freshman Anne Den Otter (23) runs the 5000m during the 2016 Hurricane Alumni Invitational hosted at Cobb Stadium Saturday afternoon. Den Otter won the women’s 5000m with a personal-best time of 18:14.36. Cody Sklar // Contributing Photographer

This weekend’s Hurricane Alumni Invitational was the last home meet of the season for the Miami Hurricanes track and field team. Many former Canes came home to watch record-breaking performances and to see the seniors give it their all one last time.

The meet began Friday with field events. Precious Ogunleye finished fourth in the women’s hammer throw with a season-best 58.80 meters; she placed third in the women’s discus Saturday with a throw of 46.24 meters. The decathlon and heptathlon also began on Friday, featuring Andreas Christodoulou in the former and Stefani Kerrison and Amy Taintor in the latter. Christodoulou won the decathlon, racking up 7,060 points to place second in school history. Kerrison placed third in the heptathlon with 4,718 points and Taintor finished fifth with 2,900 points. Kerrison’s point total is the fourth-best in UM history.

After the first day of events, the team hosted the annual alumni reception. Summer and Winter Olympian Lauryn Williams and former coach Mike Ward were among track and field alumni in attendance. Williams also provided analysis for ESPN3 on the final day of events Saturday.

Saturday honored the senior track class, some of whom are the best athletes in program history. Those who completed their final home meet of their careers were Dakota Dailey-Harris, John-Patrick Friday, Jamika Glades, TeQuille Jackson, Innocent Jacob, Kevin Marsh, Alysha Newman, Ogunleye, Tiffany Okieme, Joseph Ryan, Isaiah Simmons, Kelly Williamson, Anthony Wolliston and Alexis Wright.

The seniors put on a show in Coral Gables one last time. Newman crushed the women’s pole vault and did more than just win the competition with a new personal-best. Her vault of 4.60 meters is the new ACC record, the new Canadian national record, the NCAA-leading vault and the fourth-best vault in the world this year.

Dailey-Harris set a new school record of 1.85 meters in her high-jump win. The jump meets the Olympic standard for Dailey-Harris to compete in this year’s Olympic Trials.

Friday finished second in the high jump at 2.11 meters and third in the long jump with a season-best 7.44 meters. Now that his personal-best high jump is the second-best jump in UM history, Friday is in the top five in program history in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. The non-seniors had stellar performances as well. Shakima Wimbley, Carolyn Brown, Aiyanna Stiverne and Ebony Morrison ran the third-fastest women’s 4×100-meter relay in school history, clocking in a time of 43.75 seconds.

“I felt that we competed very well. Our handoffs were really good,” Morrison said. “We basically booked our ticket to [NCAA] Regionals.”

Wimbley would go on to dominate the women’s 400 meters, running a 51.62 to win the event. In the 4×400-meter relay with Samantha Gonzalez, Glades and Brown, Wimbley ran a split time under 51 seconds as anchor of the team. The relay won, notching a season-best 3:31.73.

“I still haven’t taken it all in,” Wimbley said. “What it shows me is that hard work and dedication can take you further than you’ve ever dreamed.”

Freshman Anne Den Otter earned a women’s 5,000-meter victory with a personal-best 18:14.36. Sean Grossman won the men’s 5,000 meter at 15:19.25 and third in the 1,500 meter with a season-best 4:00.06.

The Canes have the next week off, but will be back in action April 22 in Gainesville at the Tom Jones Invitational.

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