Atherley Wins Pentathlon with Nation-Leading Score
LUBBOCK, Texas – Michelle Atherley of the Miami track and field team wasted little time in the 2019 indoor season to boast the nation’s top finish in the women’s pentathlon on Thursday at the Texas Tech Classic.
“First, I’m extremely thankful that I’m entering this season healthy,” Atherley said. “It’s been a long process, but I came into this pentathlon feeling strong and ready to see where I am at in all of my events. I would say overall, the competition went well. I was really focused on applying the things I’ve been working on in practice and listening to my coaches. There is still a lot to improve on through each event, so I am pushing myself to focus on the details and get into better competition shape.”
The senior won the pentathlon at the Sports Performance Center with a nation-leading 4,292 points in a field of 17. Atherley posted personal bests in the high jump at 1.74m and in the long jump with a mark of 6.01m.
“That was great opener for her and she competed with a lot of confidence and was very focused,” head coach Amy Deem said. “I know she’ll get better as the season goes on and I know she can improve on some things in the hurdles, but I think getting this first one in underneath her is great. It was huge opener for her and she really set herself up to have a great indoor season.”
Atherley began the day with a first-place finish in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.39 seconds to give her 1,041 points. After the high jump, Athlerey’s mark of 11.74m in the shot put gave the North Port, Fla., native her only second-place finish of the day.
The 2018 ACC Outdoor Field MVP finished the day by winning the 800m with a time of 2:17.98. Atherley’s score of 4,292 points leads the nation in the pentathlon, edging Jordan Gray from Kennesaw State by 74 points.
“It was great seeing her work through the events,” assistant coach Rob Jarvis said. “Her coming off the high jump and being able to switch legs and jump 1.74 on the other leg is really motivating to see. Her long jump was phenomenal and I’m just seeing a lot of room for growth from her this year after today. Not only was it a great performance, but she was just off her lifetime best and the school record of 4,319.”
Senior Andreas Christodoulou finished the first day of the men’s heptathlon in fourth place with a score of 2,802 points. Christodoulou registered the day’s best finish in the long jump with a mark of 6.96m.
The Cyprus native also placed third in the shot put with a mark of 12.29m, fourth in the 60m with a time of 7.37 seconds and seventh in the high jump.
The Canes return to action tomorrow beginning with the women’s final weight throw where sophomore Debbie Ajagbe and junior Sherry Lubin are set to compete at 3 p.m. Sophomore Kevin Arreaga will follow in the men’s weight throw at 4:30.
The first track event will feature four Canes in the first round of the women’s 60m with Symone Mason in heat 1, Amuru Patterson in heat 5, and Tia Murray and Carolyn Brown in heat 6. Chauncy Smart and Isaiah Taylor will compete in heat 2 while Christopher Moree runs in heat 6 of the men’s 60m at 5:15 p.m.
The finals of both events will close out day two of the Texas Tech Classic.
“The team looked good tonight and seemed excited to be here,” Deem said. “There’s a lot of great competition, there will be a lot of NCAA marks tomorrow and I challenged them to go out tomorrow and compete against some of the best. The fields are loaded and it’s that time of the season where you have to step up and compete and that’s what I’m expecting.”
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