VCU track and field earned themselves a solid weekend at the Darius Dixon Memorial Invitational, with the performance by the Black and Gold featuring several dominating performances and consistent finishes among the athletes.
On Saturday, seniors Kareem Payne and Marcus Finnie both dominated the men’s sprinting. Payne placed first in the 60-meter dash, setting a new school record with 6.76 seconds — a feat not accomplished since 2008.
Finnie advanced to the finals as well, clocking in the 60-meters at 6.98 seconds. Both runners also added third and fourth place finishes in the 200-meter dash to their day’s resume. Junior Austin Conway made his mark on the day, finishing third with a personal best time in the 1,000-meter and freshman Jordan Fountain placed fifth in the same event.
Sophomore Ian Davis captured fourth place in the 60-meter hurdle with an 8.20 time, and freshman Ebenezer Belayneh added a personal best for the day, with a 14.99 in shot put.
The women’s track and field team performed in nearly identical fashion, as senior Taylor McCormick proved to be the star of the day. McCormick finished first in the triple jump, setting a new VCU record of 12.33 meters. Junior Ashley Greenlee placed first out of 17 athletes in the 500-meter, clocking in at a 1:15.52 time.
Junior Latrice Morris added a fourth place in the 60-meter finals with a 7.65 time and sophomore Alexis Willis placed eighth. Sophomore Kayla Smith brought home a second-place finish in the 400-meter with a 55.50 time and senior Courtney Holleran recorded a personal best time of 10:32.81 in the 3,000-meter.
Makayla McGowan claimed fourth in shot put, with the sophomore recording a 14.10 mark. Additionally, the Black and Gold’s 4×400-meter relay team placed third overall with a time of 3:50.83.
Friday’s opening events featured the weight throw and distance medley. Seniors Latasha Williams and Ashleigh Banks tied for 13th in the weight throw, each recording a distance of 15.88 meters. Freshman Jacob Greenless also placed for the men’s team, finishing ninth with a 15.16 distance. The women’s distance medley brought home a 12:11.24 time, not only a season best, but fast enough for fifth place. Both VCU teams placed second in the 4×60 shuttle hurdle events.
VCU’s next event will be the Atlantic 10 Track & Field Indoor Championships Feb. 17 and 18, in Kingston, Rhode Island.
Adam Cheek, Contributing writer