Six Canes Punch Tickets to Nationals

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Six members of the Miami track and field team earned a spot at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas on Friday. 

“I’m really pleased with today,” director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem said. “The key to this track meet is getting through and staying alive. I’m really proud of our kids for coming here and stepping up to get to Austin. They’ve all had confidence in their performances and I’m really proud of how they performed tonight.” 

Debbie Ajagbe and Zakiya Rashid boasted top-10 finishes in the women’s discus to secure their spots in Texas. The pair of Canes were the first ones in action for Miami and made a statement early on. 

Rashid’s first throw of the event held for the fifth-best overall mark at 55.06m. The mark was the senior’s second-best mark of the season. Ajagbe also got out to a hot start as the sophomore’s first throw of 53.33m earned her the eighth-best mark in the event. 

This is the second-straight season Ajagbe will compete at nationals in the discus. In her freshman season, Ajagbe finished 16th overall with her mark of 49.99m. 

The Canes maintained its hot streak of every individual advancing to their respective event quarterfinals when Tiara McMinn easily won Heat 4 of the 100m hurdles. McMinn’s time of 13.01 seconds was the sophomore’s second-fastest time of the season and ranked fifth overall out of the field of 48. McMinn will compete in Saturday’s quarterfinals scheduled for 7:05 p.m. 

“She ran great from four to the finish line today,” Deem said. “I think she had great anticipation out of the blocks today and if she can nail her start like she’s been doing all season, then I think she’s going to do really well tomorrow.” 

Brittny Ellis became the fourth Cane to earn a ticket to nationals by winning Heat 1 of the women’s 400m dash. Ellis posted a season-best time of 52.23 seconds and finished sixth overall.

On the men’s side, Raheem Chambers became the second Cane to advance to nationals when he finished third in Heat 1 to earn an automatic bid with his time of 10.13. Chambers finished with the fourth-fastest time in the event.  

Sophomore Kayla Johnson ran a strong 800m run, finishing sixth overall with a season-best time of 2:04.22. Senior Samantha Gonzalez was the final Cane to punch their ticket to nationals with her tenth-place finish in the women’s 400m hurdles. Gonzalez registered a time of 57.43 seconds after finishing second in Heat 1. 

Carolyn Brown’s individual season came to a close on Friday as the senior finished 24th in the women’s 100m dash. Brown registered a time of 11.62 seconds. Junior McKinly Brown also concluded his individual season on a high note, running a personal-best time in the 400m hurdles at 50.70 seconds to finish 14th overall. 

“McKinly’s was a tough one to run a personal-best and just miss out,” Deem said. “He’s worked hard this season so that was tough to see. I’m really proud of what Carolyn has accomplished her senior year. I know she’s disappointed, but I know her and I can’t wait to see her run really strong tomorrow in the 4×100 relay.” 

Fans can follow live results of this week’s events by clicking HERE.

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