Canes Earn Spots at NCAA East Preliminaries

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – It’s been two years since anyone competed at the NCAA Track and Field Preliminaries.

Miami made a point to send as many Canes as possible to the event where the top 48 student-athletes in each event in the region earn a spot.

On the women’s side, 10 individuals finished among the best in their events, including both relay teams. Debbie Ajagbe and Alfreda Steele led the way qualifying for three events in Jacksonville, Fla.

After her silver medal at the ACC Outdoor Championships, Ajagbe enters the meet with the third-best mark in the discus, No. 19 in the shot put and No. 38 in the hammer. Steele medaled twice at ACCs, winning gold in the 200m dash with the fourth-fastest qualifying time in the East and sits at No. 12 in the 100m dash. Steele also helped the 4×100 relay with Lauryn Harris, Jacious Sears and Tiara McMinn run the fourth-fastest qualifying time in the region at 43.49 seconds.

Sears also qualified for preliminaries in the 100m dash at No. 26 with a time of 11.46. Senior Kayla Johnson’s program record time in the 800m earned the seventh-fastest time in the event, while McMinn’s time of 12.86 in the 100m hurdles ranks as the fifth-fastest time in the region.

The final track event for the women to qualify was the 4×400 relay ran by Kennedy Brace, Sierra Oliveira, Michelle Atherley and Johnson.

Taylor Wright and Ashley Moore each made their way in the high jump and triple jump, respectively, for the lone jumps members to qualify.

Hannah Hall (No. 15) and Selina Dantzler (No. 25) will join Debbie Ajagbe in the women’s shot put, while Zakiya Rashid is the final woman to qualify in the discus.

Atherley punched her ticket to the 2021 NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships, boasting the third-best mark in the heptathlon with a program record 6,100 points.

Miami’s men qualified for 12 events, with Russell Robinson leading the way in two individual events. The freshman earned top 15 marks in both the long jump (No. 5) and triple jump (No. 12) to qualify for his first preliminary meet. Kevin Snyder will join Robinson in the triple jump after a personal-best mark at ACCs of 15.44m.

Grad transfer earned a spot in the men’s high jump with a program record mark of 2.21m, while Jeffrey Williams in the men’s discus (No. 21) and Kevin Arreaga in the hammer (No. 10) close out the field events on the men’s team.

Freshman Solomon Strader and senior Khamal Stewart-Baynes both qualified for the men’s 400m. Freshman Oskars Bambals was the lone Cane to reach the 800m prelims.

The hurdle events will feature Xavier Coakley in the 110m hurdles with his time of 13.81 at No. 17 and McKinly Brown in the 400m hurdles with the sixth-fastest time at 50.25. The final event to advance is the men’s 4×400 relay ran by Strader, Stewart-Baynes, Asa Burke and McKinly Brown.

The preliminaries will be held at UNF from May 26-29.