Canes challenge themselves with professional competitions in the last regular season meet

Michelle Atherley moved into third place on Miami's all-time list in the high jump at the UNF Invitational from April 29-30.
Michelle Atherley moved into third place on Miami's all-time list in the high jump at the UNF Invitational from April 29-30. Photo credit: Twitter, @CanesTrack

For the last regular season meet of the outdoor season the Canes headed north once again, this time to compete in Jacksonville, Fla. at the UNF Invitational.

The two-day event at Hodges Stadium was flooded with big names competing with collegiate athletes. World champion Grant Holloway, Nike’s Courtney Okolo, Olympic sprinter Trayvon Bromell and former NCAA champion Andre De Grasse all made an experience on the heat sheets. Despite the deep field, the Canes still came away with a series of podium finishes.

Junior Selina Dantzler set the tone early on the first day, taking home first place in the shot put with a mark of 16.07m. Teammate Hannah Hall followed behind, finishing seventh overall (14.97m).

Veteran thrower Debbie Ajagbe set a season best mark in the discus throw, finishing fourth with a mark of 55.33m The senior also took home second place in the hammer throw with a mark of 59.40m.

Graduate student Michelle Atherley set a personal best mark, clearing 1.81m in the high jump.

She went on to finish third overall and now ranks ninth in the NCAA this year. Sophomore Taylor Wright wasn’t far behind her and went on to finish fifth (1.75m). Sophomore Lauryn Harris also finished on podium. She took home second overall in the long jump with a mark of 6.24m.

On the men’s side, Russell Robinson continued his successful sophomore campaign, jumping a 7.62m in the long jump and finishing third overall. Veteran Jeffrey Williams collected his bronze medal finishing third in the discus throw with a mark of 54.58m and redshirt senior Kevin Arreaga joined him, finishing third in the hammer throw (68.25m).

Alfreda Steele led the sprints for Miami, she finished second in the 200 meter dash. Steele’s time of 22.83 is the sixth fastest time in the NCAA this year and a new personal best time for the graduate student.

Keeping the speed, the women’s 4×100 meter relay set the third fastest time in program history and a season’s best time (43.49). The team was led by Harris, Steele, sophomore Jacious Sears and senior Tiara McMinn and beat out teams from South Florida, Coastal Carolina and Southern Carolina.

Miami’s 4×400 meter relay also set a season best time and finished second overall. The team featured freshmen Kennedy Brace and Sierra Oliveira as well as veterans Kayla Johnson and Atherley. Their time of 3:33.43 beat out relays from South Florida, UCF, Clemson and Vanderbilt and finished second only behind South Carolina.

Johnson also took home second place in the 800 meter run (2:02.94) and Harris finished fourth in the 100 meter hurdles (13.44).

Redshirt senior McKinly Brown headed the men’s side of the sprints. He finished third in the 400 meter hurdles, setting a program record and a personal best time of 50.25. Another veteran, Xavier Coakley finished seventh (14.16) in a 110 meter hurdles field that includes Adidas’ Grant Holloway.

Freshman Solomon Strader finished sixth in the 400 meter dash (46.67) and redshirt senior Raheem Chambers finished seventh in the 100 meter dash (10.37).

This marks the end of the Canes’ regular outdoor season, but the team will head to Raleigh, N.C. on May 13-16 to compete in the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships looking for a chance to compete in the NCAA Championships.