Isaiah Simmons Repeats as ACC Shot Put Champ
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Isaiah Simmons defended his ACC title in the men’s shot put, leading the University of Miami track and field program on Day 2 of the 2014 ACC Outdoor Championships.
The Hurricanes had a productive day Friday, winning one individual title, earning another medal and having eight student-athletes qualify for the finals in their respective running events.
“It was a really good day for us,” Miami director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem said. “We did almost everything we could do on the women’s side as far as preparing ourselves for a great finish tomorrow. Now we just have to execute in the finals.”
While several Canes shined Friday, Simmons was the clear star, setting a school record with his winning throw of 18.91m. The sophomore has now claimed four ACC championships in shot put, two indoor and two outdoor.
“Obviously he wants to win, but he knows there is still more in there,” Deem said. “He is such a leader on our men’s team. He steps up when it counts and pulls out the clutch throw.”
Simmons entered Friday’s competition concerned with how he would perform, but the standout thrower quickly found his rhythm and put up a big mark.
“Coming in, I was probably the most nervous that I have been competing in my two years here,” Simmons said. “After warm-ups, I started feeling a little better and I had my first throw and I felt pretty confident. Then with the second throw I got that big one. I just want to keep progressing with my throws and getting it out further.”
Joining Simmons in picking up point for Miami’s men was Gian Piero Ragonesi. The freshman placed eighth in men’s shot put with a mark of 16.51m. Simmons and Ragonesi combined to score 11 points for the Hurricane men.
Alysha Newman also set a new school record with her mark of 4.28m in the women’s pole vault. The sophomore placed second, scoring eight points for the women’s team.
Amber Monroe’s personal-best throw of 16.14m placed her second in the women’s shot put. The big mark scored eight points for Miami’s women and moved her into third place in school history.
John-Patrick Friday was Miami’s final scorer on Friday, finishing in a three-way tie for seventh place in the men’s high jump with a mark of 2.04m.
Miami had three women qualify for the women’s 800m final. Alaine Tate was the only heat winner, finishing first in Heat 2 with a time of 2:08.69. Joining Tate in the finals will be Thandi Stewart and Taneisha Cordell, whom each place second in their respective heats. Stewart posted a time of 2:05.93 that ranks fifth in school history, while Cordell turned in a time of 2:06.15.
“We advanced three people to the 800m final and I had the confidence in them and I knew they could do it,” Deem said. “Seeing them execute and put themselves in that position is something I am very proud of them for.”
One day after qualifying for the women’s 400m hurdles final, Jamika Glades advanced to the women’s 100m hurdles final. The sophomore is seeded fourth after posting a preliminary time of 13.79 seconds. Joining Glades in the final is Kayann Richards, who is seeded eighth after running a 14.05. Miami’s men also had a qualifer in the hurdles as TeQuille Jackson earned the sixth seed after running a personal-best 14.23 in the preliminaries of the men’s 100m hurdles.
“Kayann didn’t have a great race in the 100m hurdles, “ Deem said. “She clobbered the first hurdle, but it’s the first time all season that she really competed through the finish line. I am happy to see that.”
Shakima Wimbley won her heat in the women’s 400m preliminaries, earning the fourth seed in Saturday’s final with a time of 53.80 seconds. The freshman will be busy on the final day of the ACC Championships, competing in the 200m and 400m finals, as well as on Miami’s 4x100m and 4x400m relays.
Alyssa McClure wins Heat 1 of the women’s 100m prelims with a time of 11.74 seconds. The senior advances to Sunday’s final, where she will be seeded third.
“I was really impressed with how the women competed today,” Deem said. “Hopefully they will feed off each other and we will have a great finish tomorrow.”
Heading into the final day of the 2014 ACC Outdoor Championships, Miami’s women are in sixth place with 26 points, while the men sit in ninth place with 17 points.
The three-day meet opened Thursday and will continue through Saturday, April 19. The 2014 ACC Outdoor Championships are held at the Belk Track, Fetzer Field and Finley Field on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Fans can follow the action via ESPN3 and live streaming on theACC.com on Saturday from 4 until 8 p.m. Viewers can access the webcasts at http://theacc.co/OTFchamp.
Live results will be available throughout the event on the championship website: http://theacc.co/OTFlivestats.
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