Track teams take records in stride

A season of individual accomplishments led to the women’s track and field team’s highest outdoor NCAA Championship finish since 1995. The Hurricanes capped off a great season in 20th-place (12 points) at the NCAAs, highest since a 17th place finish (15 points) seven years ago.

Miami had two runners earn All-America honors in the 100-meters as freshman Lauryn Williams took sixth with a time of 11.63 and senior Wyllesheia Myrick finished eighth with a time of 11.72.

“I’m please with how my career has gone at Miami,” said Myrick, who earned All-America honors for the second time of her career. “I’m proud with my performance tonight. I was able to compete against some of the best competition in the country so I can’t complain. UM had never had an All-American in the 100-meters coming into this season, and now we have two.”

Williams and Myrick become the first Hurricane sprinters in school history to earn All-America honors in the 100-meters. In the triple jump, senior Kareen Clarke earned All-America honors for the fifth time of her career finishing third with a leap of 13.32 meters (43-08.50). “I had trouble hitting the board today,” said Clarke, who fouled on three of her six jumps. “It’s almost impossible to win at this level when you foul on three of your six jumps.”

Clarke, who also finished third in the triple jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships, ended her UM career as arguably the greatest jumper in school history. Clarke leaves UM as a five-time Big East champion, a five-time All-American, the school record holder in the indoor and outdoor triple jump, and the conference record holder in the outdoor triple jump.

The Hurricanes’ 4×400-meter relay of junior Saraque Whittaker, junior Jamillah Wade, senior Jenise Winston and sophomore Kitoya Carter also earned All-America honors finishing seventh with a time of 3:32.74. The time is the second fastest in school history. The foursome is the first UM 4×400-meter relay to earn All-America honors and the first Hurricane relay of any kind to earn All-America honors since the 1995 4×100-meter relay of Gillian Russell, Patrina Allen, Lakeya Avant and Latesha Grier.

With the performances, Miami has now had 19 different athletes earn a combined 46 All-America honors over the last 11 seasons. “I thought we competed hard all weekend and I’m very pleased with the team’s performance,” Head Coach Amy Deem said. “I think it is very impressive that Lauryn was able to come in as a freshman and earn All-America honors both indoors and outdoors. I also thought that Wyllesheia showed a lot of heart scoring in the 100-meters, which isn’t her best event.”

The individual who exhibited an incredible amount of heart was Dan Andrews, a sophomore on the men’s team who broke his own parathlete World record in the 800-meters and set an American record in the 400-meters at the Disabled Sports International Challenge.

Andrews, who runs with a prosthetic left leg, recorded a time of 2:08.25 in finishing first in the 800-meters. His time broke the old world mark of 2:08.79 which he set in winning the gold medal at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

Andrews also finished first in the 400-meters with an American record time of 52.95. His times in both events qualified him for the 2002 IPC Athletics World Championships, July 16-29, in Lille, France.

Senior Aaron Moser qualified for the decathlon at the NCAA Tournament, but failed to clear his opening height the second day, taking him out of contention. He was, however, along with senior Gus Martin, named the team’s most valuable men’s track athlete. Tanard Davis was named most outstanding newcomer, Jabari Ennis was named the most improved athlete, Matt Mulvaney and Jeff Gaulrapp were named most improved cross country runners, Aaron Bass was named most outstanding walk-on athlete and Andre Johnson received the coaches’ award.