Deem Welcomes Track Newcomers

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The newest members of the University of Miami track and field program began classes Monday, officially joining the Hurricanes family.

The group consists of three sprinters, a hurdler, a jumper and a thrower, giving Miami talented additions across several event areas. The six newest Hurricanes combined to win 13 state championships in 2017. Miami director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem believes the newest Hurricanes can be impact performers as the Canes continue their success in the ACC and nationally.

This is always an exciting time of year welcoming our newest Hurricanes, as well as the return of the team to campus,” Deem said. “This group brings a tremendous amount of experience and success and I look for them to contribute immediately.

Debbie Ajagbe | Women’s Throws | Miami, Fla. | Ransom Everglades

Ajagbe is a Miami native that chose to continue her academic and athletic career with the hometown Hurricanes. A gifted thrower, Ajagbe is a three–time Florida Class 2A state champion in the discus and was the 2017 state champion in the shot put one year after finishing as the state runner-up in the event. A first team All-Dade selection, Ajagbe was the 2017 Florida Relays girls’ shot put and discus champion and was the 2016 FHSAA district and regional champion in both the shot put and discus and won the discus at the 2016 Louie Bing Classic and the 2016 FSU Relays. She has a personal-best mark of 46’10” (14.27 meters) in the shot put and 169’3″ (51.59 meters) in the discus. Ajagbe ranked 13th in the final all-class high school national ranking in the girl’s discus.

Kayla Johnson | Women’s 400m and 800m | Miami, Fla. | Southridge

Johnson is one of two signees from Miami’s Southridge High School that is joining the Hurricanes in 2017-18. A first team All-Dade selection, Johnson is the 2017 Florida Class 4A state champion in the 800m and on the 4x400m, while helping Southridge win the team state championships. Johnson also placed third in the state in the girl’s 400m and ran a personal-best in the 800m to win the event at Florida Relays in a time of 2:07.19. She was also the 2017 Golden South champion in the 800m. Johnson was a finalist in the 400m at the 2016 USATF Junior Nationals and was the runner-up in the 400m at the 2016 GMAC Championships. She took third place in the 800m at the 2016 FHSAA 4A state meet and was a finalist in the 800m at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational in Havana, Cuba. Johnson was the 800m champion at the 2016 Louie Bing Classic, the Spartan Invitational, Bob Hayes Invitational and the Youth Fair Invitational. She also helped Southridge finish second as a team at the 2016 FHSAA Class 4A State Championships and helped Southridge qualify for the cross country state meet for the first time in over a decade. Johnson ranked tenth in the final all-class high school national ranking in the girl’s 800m.

Hasani Knight | Men’s Jumps | Virginia Beach, Va. | Landstown

Knight is one of the top jumpers in the country, winning the 2017 Virginia Class 6A state championship in the long jump, triple jump and 100m. Knight finished third at the 2017 New Balance outdoor nationals in the triple jump and had an outstanding 2016 season, winning the 2016 AAU Junior Olympic Games triple jump championship and was the 2016 Virginia Class 6A outdoor state champion in the triple jump. Knight also was the 2016 Virginia Class 6A indoor runner-up in the triple jump. He has personal-bests of 24’3″ (7.39 meters) in the long jump, 51’3.25″ (15.63 meters) in the triple jump, 10.56 seconds in the 100m and 21.88 seconds in the 200m. Knight ranked second in the final all-class high school national ranking in the boy’s triple jump.

Symone Mason | Women’s Sprints | Miami, Fla. | Southridge

Like her fellow Southridge teammate, Kayla Johnson, Mason will compete for the hometown Hurricanes in college. One of the top sprinters in the country, Mason was named the 2017 Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year for Florida after winning 2017 Florida Class 4A state titles in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x400m while helping the Spartans win the team championship. A first team All-Dade selection, Mason is the 2017 USATF 200m champion and the 100m runner-up. She competed in Peru at the Pan-American Junior Athletics Championships, finishing second in the 200m and third in the 100m. Mason also won the 100m at the 2017 Florida Relays and the 2017 New Blanace outdoor nationals. Mason competed at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Cali, Colombia, in both the 400m and sprint medley relay. Mason helped Southridge finish second as a team at the 2016 FHSAA Class 4A State Championships and was the 2016 district and regional 200m and 400m champion. Mason also was a finalist in the 200m at the 2016 USATF Junior Nationals and was the 100m and 200m champion at the 2016 Youth Fair Invitational. Mason also won the 400m at the 2016 Louie Bing Invitational and the 2016 GMAC Championships. Mason has personal-bests of 11.24 seconds in the 100m, 23.00 seconds in the 200m, and 52.42 in the 400m.  Mason ranked first in 100m, third in 200m and fifth in 400m in the final girl’s all-class high school national ranking.

Tiara McMinn | Women’s Hurdles | Miami, Fla. | Jackson

McMinn is another Miami native who is staying home for college, coming to Coral Gables from Miami Jackson Senior High School. A first team All-Dade selection, McMinn was the Florida state champion in the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles and high jump in both 2016 and 2017. She was also the 2017 Dade County Youth Fair meet champion in the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles and high jump. McMinn comes to Miami with personal-bests of 5’10” (1.80 meters) in the high jump, 13.72 seconds in the 100m hurdles and 41.50 seconds in the 300m hurdles. McMinn ranked eighth in High Jump and tenth in 300m Hurdles in the final girl’s all-class high school national ranking.

Amuru Patterson | Women’s Sprints | Haines City, Fla. | Haines City

Patterson is one the top short sprinters in the country in 2016, ranking 10th in the 100m with a time of 11.57 seconds and 10th in the 200m with a time of 23.65 seconds. The Haines City, Fla., native was the 2016 Adidas Boost Boston Games 100m champion and the 2016 AAU Club Nationals champion in the 200m. One of the best sprinters in her home state, Patterson was the 2016 FHSAA Class 4A Champion in both the 100m and 200m. She also won the 2016 district and regional titles in both the 100m and 200m. Patterson also earned the 2016 Flo Golden South titles in both the 100m and 200m.

For all the latest information on the Miami Hurricanes, follow the official Twitter feed, @MiamiHurricanes, or “Like Us” on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MiamiHurricanes. Follow @CanesTrack on Twitter for specific news on UM track and field and cross countryThe program is also on Instagram.