ACC CHAMPIONS! Women's Track Takes Home Title
DURHAM, N.C. – For the fourth time in program history, the Miami Hurricanes women’s track & field team left the outdoor conference meet as champions.
The Hurricanes were the top finishers at the 2022 ACC Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships on the Duke University campus Saturday night, earning their first outdoor title since 2018. Miami’s women also won titles in 2005 and 2006.
“I’m proud of all of our teams, but especially proud of this group…they just really, really wanted it,” track & field director Amy Deem said. “We had to work really hard to get to this point. I don’t think anybody coming into the championships, except us, expected us to do this. From the first day to the end, they just kept fighting and kept fighting. I’m just very, very proud of this group.”
The Hurricanes women entered Saturday in sixth place but will return home with hardware thanks to strong showings on the final day of competition.
In addition, the Miami men finished in fifth place at the ACC Outdoor Championships in one of the best performances in school history.
Ayman Zahafi’s time of 1:46.79 in the 800m earned him an ACC gold medal while Jeffrey Williams took home a bronze and a program record in the men’s discus (59.47).
A gold medal in the discus (54.85m) from the ever-dominant Debbie Ajagbe set the tone on Day 3 for the Hurricanes women, who ascended further up the scoreboard when Moriah Oliveira won the 400m in a time a of 51.85 seconds.
“What can you say about Moriah? To have a lifetime-best time and come and score out of Lane 1, score big for us in the 200…it was a gutsy performance for a lot of them,” Deem said. “Debbie had a great weekend and it was great to see her win another ACC championship.”
Ajagbe would go on to be named ACC Field MVP after an eye-popping weekend.
A bronze medal from Kennedy Brace in the 400m (53.19) and a silver medal from Jacious Spears in the 100m (11.28) pushed the Hurricanes forward, while two medals from accomplished sprinter Alfreda Steele – a silver in the 200m (23.01) and a bronze in the 100m (11.28) – provided the Hurricanes a chance to close out strong.
“We’ve had some adversity this season but I knew it was in there,” Deem said. “The coaching staff and I, we knew we had a good group. We just had to finally get them understand how good they can be, and now that they did, it’s really rewarding.”
Kayla Johnson was third in the 800m (2:04.90) to pick up a bronze medal.
The Hurricanes will return to Coral Gables for training before gearing up for the NCAA East Preliminary in Bloomington, Ind., from May 25-28.
“We’re going to enjoy this for a little bit, go back and get a little rest and get ready,” Deem said. “I think we have great momentum going into the NCAA preliminaries. They’re always tough, but I think the confidence that we got this weekend is going to go a long way in getting a lot of people to qualify for the NCAA Championships in Oregon.”