Canes make a mark on NCAA season times and program history at Florida Relays

Natalie Varela runs during the Hurricane Collegiate Invitational at Cobb Stadium on March 27.
Natalie Varela runs during the Hurricane Collegiate Invitational at Cobb Stadium on March 27. Photo credit: Michael Mok

The Canes hit the road for the first time of the outdoor season to compete in the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fl over the weekend. The team returns to Coral Gables, with numerous top-10 finishes, making a mark on the program history and NCAA ranking charts.

Over the two day weekend, the women’s side collected a series of podiums. Senior Kayla Johnson led the way finishing third in the 800 meter run with a time of 2:04.79. Following her was freshman Sierra Oliveira who finished 10th (2:09.08). Another senior, Tiara McMinn finished third in the 100 meter hurdles (12.92). She was followed by Michelle Atherley (13.26) in sixth and Lauryn Harris, who ran a personal best of 13.30 and finished seventh.

The women’s last top-three finish in the running events was led by an experienced 4×100 meter relay team. Sophomore Harris, graduate student Alfreda Steele, Jacious Sears and McMinn helped Miami secure a second place finish (43.56) running the fourth fastest time in the NCAA this season.

Steele added her name to Miami program history, running the third fastest time in the 100 meter dash (11.26). She also ran the seventh fastest time in the NCAA this season, second fastest time in the ACC and finished fourth overall. Sophomore Sears finished behind her in sixth place with a time of 11.46. Sears also placed seventh in the 200 meter dash (23.63).

To cap the running events, distance runner Emma Langlois finished fifth in the 3000 meter run (9:51.06), ranking fifth overall in program history. In the freshmen-led 4×400 meter relay, Miami’s B team finished sixth overall (3:38.19) and was led by Moriah Oliveira, S. Oliveira, Blanca Hervas and Kennedy Brace.

In the field events, the Miami women saw two third place finishes. Junior Selina Dantzler threw a personal best 16.20m in the shot put finishing third and veteran Zakiya Rashid threw 55.49m in the discus throw for another third place finish. Senior Debbie Ajagbe finished sixth in the shot put (15.80m) and fifth in the hammer throw (58.93m). Atherley (6.33m) took fifth in the long jump, followed by Harris (6.02m), who took seventh and sophomore Taylor Wright finished eighth in the high jump (1.70m).

On the men’s side, graduate student Isaiah Holmes was the highest field finisher, taking fourth in the high jump (2.15m). Russell Robinson finished fifth in the triple jump (15.66m), adding to his impressive sophomore campaign and veteran thrower Kevin Arreaga finished fifth in the hammer throw (65.36m). Sophomore Kevin Snyder finished sixth respectively in the long jump (7.23m).

Leading the running events was freshman Oskars Bambals, who placed fifth in the 800 meter run (1:51.08). Another fellow freshman Solomon Strader finished 10th in the 400 meter dash with a time of 47.06 and Xavier Coakley finished eighth in the 110 meter hurdles (14.30).

Closing the weekend, the men’s 4×400 meter relay finished fifth with a time of 3:08.52. The team was led by redshirt senior McKinly Brown, graduate student Asa Burke, Bambals and Strader.

The Canes head back to Coral Gables to host their third and final home meet of the season, the Hurricane Alumni Invitational at Cobb Stadium on April 9-10.