TRACK AND FIELD: Outdoor track season kicks off

Under less than ideal weather conditions, the University of Miami opened its outdoor track and field season this weekend at Cobb Stadium to host the Hurricane Invitational.

The meet, which featured 21 colleges as well as unattached athletes, got underway Thursday with the women’s heptathlon and men’s decathlon, the two-day multi-events. Friday saw heats and field events, and the bulk of the action took place Saturday, with multiple heats contested as finals according to past times.

Except for notable All-Americans Krista Simkins and Tim Harris, who competed at last week’s NCAA Indoor Championships, most of the Hurricanes men’s and women’s teams competed, though in large measure as an extended, early season strength-building workout.

With few exceptions, results on the track reflected the inclement weather, swirling wind and precipitation, which slowed times. Saturday afternoon’s track program was interrupted by the Thor-guard Lightning Detection system, and the stadium was evacuated for about two hours. Once the warning subsided, the meet resumed in steady rain.

“A lot of events were run in pouring rain,” head coach Mike Ward said of the slow times. “Plus a lot of guys doubled and tripled [competing in multiple events].”

Cory Nelms ran the 110-meter hurdles and the 400-meter hurdles, posting strong times and top-four finishes in both. His 14.05-second time in the 110-meter hurdles, along with Les Bradley’s 14.21, was good enough to reach the regional standard. Casey McGinn was the third member of the UM men’s team to qualify, winning the pole vault with a 4.85.

“Casey, Corey and Les were basically the highlights of the meet on the men’s side,” Ward said.

On the women’s side, the Hurricanes got impressive performances from its young sprint hurdlers, Ti’erra Brown, Takecia Jameson and Tameka Jameson, finishing 1-2-3 in the 400-meter hurdles, all comfortably under 60 seconds. All easily met the NCAA regional qualifying standard.

Sophomore Kristy White ran 23.95 in the women’s 200 to finish as the fastest collegian. It was a personal best mark and fast enough to qualify for the regional standard. White was also a part of the women’s 4×100-meter relay team that ran 45.23 to finish second and qualified for the regional mark.

Ena Leufroy, a strong middle distance prospect for the lady Hurricanes, ran both the 800-meter and 1500-meter, getting two top-five finishes, her same day 2.15.27 and 4.51.16.

High jumpers Viktoria Andonova, an NCAA indoor qualifier, and Elan Daviglus both had solid performances, finishing near the top of the women’s and men’s high jump.

Simkins and Harris were honored for their achievements Saturday. Simkins will make her outdoor debut Saturday at the Hurricane Challenge, also at Cobb Stadium, while Harris will wait for either the Florida Relays in Gainesville April 4 or the Miami Elite Invitational April 12 at Cobb Stadium.

Krishen Rangi may contacted at