The Hurricanes track & field team entered the Tiger Paw Invitational, a two-day event hosted by Clemson University, looking to post some strong performances and gain momentum for the upcoming ACC Championships.
Miami wasted no time on that front, setting a new program record in the women’s distance medley relay on Day One of competition on Friday. The team of Natalie Varela, Sierra Oliveira, Kayla Johnson and Daphnee Lavassas clocked a time of 11:27.44, outrunning the previous record by over eight seconds.
The other big success for the Hurricanes on Friday came from the field, as junior Russell Robinson took second in the long jump with a leap of 7.67 meters. The achievement marked the program’s third-longest jump.
Along with Robinson’s jumping success came a second place finish in the men’s weight throw, as graduate student Decio Andrade threw 21.49 meters for the 16th-farthest mark in the NCAA this year.
The strong throwing for Miami continued on Saturday, as senior Hannah-Sophia Hall launched the shot put 17.15 meters, good enough for third place in the event and the ninth-farthest throw in the nation.
“I am really proud of Hannah-Sophia and Decio for their determination and getting in there to get better as the season goes on,” track and field Director Amy Deem said of her top throwers.
Miami also performed well on the track on Saturday, spearheaded by Ayman Zahafi who topped his own program record in the 800 meter run with a time of 1:47.30, good for third-fastest in the NCAA. The Morocco native earned ACC Co-Track Performer of the Week honors after the Meyo Invitational, as the No. 15-ranked men’s squad was charted the highest since its No. 26 ranking in 2012.
Lavassas, meanwhile, followed up her strong relay performance with a victory in the women’s 3000-meter, clocking a time of 9:33.77.
The Hurricanes sights are now set on the indoor track postseason, which begins with the ACC Championships on Feb. 24-26 in Blacksburg, Virginia.
“Things are coming together, and athletes are stepping up as the season goes on,” Deem said. “It is a slow process and as coaches we need to help them figure it out by the ACC Championships.”