Holmes captures field MVP award, Hurricanes complete ACC Championships strong

Photo credit: Miami Athletics

With first place in both the long jump and high jump, graduate Isaiah Holmes leaped his way to being crowned men’s field MVP in Miami track & field’s trip to the ACC Championships this weekend in Blacksburg, Virginia.

A native of Roseville, California, Holmes and the men’s team took sixth place for its highest ACC finish ever, while the women’s squad finished third in overall team scoring.

Holmes captured both jumping crowns on Friday, beginning with the high jump, which required a leapfrogging of 2.17 meters. He finished the long jump with a captured mark of 8.03 meters, good for fourth in the nation so far this year and shattering his own previous school record.

“What a day for Isaiah,” Miami director of track and field and cross country Amy Deem said. “It was a great day for him, and he really stepped up in both events. He started the day off right in the high jump.”

Miami captured two more first place finishes in individual events in the meet, each coming from the women’s team, which finished an impressive third in overall scoring, on the track.

Freshman Moriah Oliveira took gold in the 400-meter sprint by clocking a personal best time of 52.88 seconds, nearly half of a second quicker than her nearest competitor.

In the 60-meter sprint, sophomore Jacious Sears captured Miami’s second women’s title in the individual events, completing the race in a blistering 7.28 seconds.

“We had some really solid performances today, Jacious stepped it up in the 60 meters,” Deem said. “It was a nice big personal best for Moriah in the 400. We had a lot of season bests today.”

One of those season bests came from the same 60-meter final that saw Sears cross the line first; senior Alfreda Steele rounded out the podium by taking third place with a time of 7.30 seconds. Steele rounded out a strong weekend with a silver medal in the 200-meter, clocking in at 23.47.

Another Hurricane who found the podium on the track was Ayman Zahafi, who had enjoyed an extremely strong indoor season to this point, setting and topping his own record in the men’s 800-meter in back-to-back meets.

Zahafi was unable to beat his record of 1:47.30, but did race to a third-place finish in 1:48.87. The middle distance senior would medal again later with the men’s 4×400 relay team, joined by Khamal Stewart-Baynes, Davonte Fuller, and Solomon Strader. The quartet ran a time of 3:10.28, taking the silver medal.

The women’s 4×400 team also managed to run their way to a medal, as the squad of Blanca Hervas-Rodriguez, Moriah Oliveira, Sierra Oliveira and Kayla Johnson finished the race in 3:35.46 and took the bronze medal.

The remaining podium finishes for Miami came in the field events, with Debbie Ajagbe and Kevin Arreaga medaling in the throwing events and Justin Forde taking bronze in the triple jump by way of a 15.98-meter mark.

Although the Hurricanes men’s team took home its strongest ever ACC finish and the women’s team finished in the top three, Deem was not completely satisfied with her team’s performance and wants to see more from them as they gear up for the indoor NCAA Championships and the outdoor season.

“We had some really great individual performances, but we left too many points off the table, and we just can’t continue to do that as a team,” Deem said.

The Hurricanes have a chance to make good on their coach’s wishes and produce a better team effort for an even higher finish at the NCAA Championships from March 11-12 in Birmingham, Alabama.