EUGENE, Ore. – Four members of the No. 19 University of Miami women’s track and field team competed on the first day of the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Lea Johnson, Shakima Wimbley, Thandi Stewart and Alyssa McClure were the four Hurricanes in action on Wednesday, the first of a four-day meet at Hayward Field. Only Stewart had previous experience running at the NCAA Championships and Miami director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem felt her team showed some of it’s inexperience on the opening day of competition.
“I knew we ran extremely well to get here so coming in you wonder if you can sustain that when you have a lot of lifetime-bests to qualify,” Deem said. “I thought we had a lot of performances that reflected the first time being here. We didn’t handle that extremely well. The positive is that we can grow from it. With as much progress as we made this year, I think we can make even more next year and be an even better team.”
Johnson was the first Hurricane to compete at the 2014 NCAA Championships. The junior finished eighth in Flight 1 and 16th overall with a mark of 59.90m. Johnson wraps a successful 2014 season that saw her claim the ACC championship in hammer and the ACC indoor title in weight throw.
Wimbley placed fourth in Heat 1 of the women’s 400m semifinal with a time of 52.61 seconds, while Stewart posted a time of 2:06.72 in Heat 2 of the women’s 800m semifinal. Stewart and Wimbley are members of Miami’s 4x400m relay pool that is scheduled to compete in Heat 1 of Thursday’s semifinal.
McClure was the final Hurricane in action Wednesday, competing in the women’s 100m semifinal. The senior posted a time of 11.62 seconds to close out her career. McClure, who was the 2014 ACC champion in the women’s 100m, entered this week’s meet fresh off running a personal-best 11.44 seconds that ranks fifth in UM history.
Ten Hurricanes traveled to Oregon for the NCAA Championships and Miami will have student-athletes competing in the pole vault, high jump, discus, and the 4x400m relay over the next three days at the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
“We still have a lot to do,” Deem said. “We have the 4x4 tomorrow and Amber is very motivated in the discus. Alysha no heighted as a freshman and now she’s here and Dakota goes on Saturday. I had a little bit more expectation for tonight and I thought we didn’t step up when we needed to.”
Thursday will feature Miami student-athletes competing in two events. Amber Monroe will look to build off her personal-best mark of 54.79m in the women’s discus at 5 p.m. ET. The Hurricanes’ 4x400m relay of Stewart, Taneisha Cordell, Wimbley and Anthonia Moore enters the NCAA Championships fresh off posting a season-best time of 3:34.24 that ranked sixth at the NCAA East Preliminary. The quartet will be joined by Jamika Glades to form a talented relay pool for the Hurricanes. Miami’s 4x400m relay is set to compete in the semifinals at 9:40 p.m. ET.
Pole vaulter Alysha Newman entered the NCAA East Preliminary with a personal-best of 4.41m that ranked second in the East Region and fourth nationally. The University of Miami record holder will look to raise the bar to a new level when she competes on Friday at 6:15 p.m. ET.
Dakota Dailey-Harris is scheduled to compete in the women’s high jump on Saturday at 3:45 p.m. ET. The sophomore’s personal-best mark of 1.80m in the women’s high jump was tied for 16th in the East Region heading into the postseason and ranks second in school history. The women’s 4x400m relay could also potentially compete on Saturday as the women’s 4x400m final is scheduled for 6:55 p.m. ET.
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