Hurricanes Shine at Music City Challenge and Tiger Paw Invitational

Hurricanes Shine at Music City Challenge and Tiger Paw Invitational

by James Knable

CLEMSON, S.C. – The University of Miami track and field team had an eventful stretch of performances Friday and Saturday as the team competed in two meets over the weekend. One meeting was the Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, South Carolina, and the other was the Music City Challenge in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Hurricanes were also up against some serious competition. At Clemson, Miami faced off against big-twelve powerhouse Texas, USC, Tennessee, and more.

In Nashville, the distance runners, led by Coach Cody Halsey, made some serious noise.

Senior Ayman Zahafi, running in the first men’s one-mile event of his career, shattered the school record by posting a time of 4:05.83.

Coach Halsey was glad that the decision was made to put Zahafi into an unfamiliar event.

“Ayman is a competitor and thrives in race situations. Regardless of the distance, he shows up. I was incredibly proud of his effort, the mile is totally different from the 800m and involves a little bit of a learning curve, but Ayman handled it brilliantly. As far as the whole group, they showed up to compete and that’s all you can ask for. I’m really excited about their progression and hope to keep that momentum up,” Coach Halsey said following the achievement. 

Daphnee Lavassas continues to add to her already spectacular collegiate career by taking over the program record in the women’s 5000m, earning a time of 16:18.33. The previous record, a time of 16:51.38, was held by Gabrielle Hesslau in 2017.

For the rest of the squad competing in Nashville, Natalie Valera earned a new personal best and number five spot on the program all-time list when it came to the women’s one mile, timing in at 4:50.96. Elle Mezzio was right behind Valera in the same event, earning a new personal best of 4:55.69.

Where Mezzio really shined was the women’s 3000m event, where she earned a time of 9:52.58. Not only is this a personal best, but this time puts her at number five in program history for the indoor women’s 3000m.

Justin Rittenhouse, Enrique Borrego, and Austen Cannon also stepped up during the men’s 3000m. All three hurricanes achieved personal bests as Rittenhouse clocked in at 8:26.66, Borrego at 8:24.00, and Cannon at 8:20.92. Along with these being personal bests, this moves each of them up to number two, three, and four, respectively, in the all-time indoor program record for the men’s 3000m.

In the women’s 800m, Emma Maurel wanted to join in on the fun too. After earning a time of 2:06.18, the French distance runner is now seated at number three in program history for the women’s indoor 800m.

Moving over to some of the field events, there was a lot on display, especially from Décio Andrade and Hannah Hall.

Décio Andrade, as expected, rose to the challenge once again in Clemson as the Portugal native achieved the program record for the men’s weight throw, earning an incredible final distance of 22.48. Look for Décio to continue that same energy in two weeks as the team prepares for ACC Championships in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Hannah Hall also was locked in right alongside Andrade, as she finally broke the 20m barrier in the women’s weight throw, earning a distance of 20.84m and a new personal best. Hall carried that momentum into the women’s shot put, where she took home the second-place spot posting a distance of 16.71m.

Finally, the women’s sprinters wanted to join the party, and they did just that on Friday.

Moriah Oliveira was on another level in the women’s 400m, running a time of 52.18 as a new personal best and also breaking into the top five for the program’s all-time door 400m event. Blanca Hervas Rodrigues came flying in right behind Oliveira, posting a new personal best for herself at 53.75.

The stakes only get higher from here on out. The team has less than two weeks to perfect the finishing touches before ACC Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, as the conference’s best athletes will be on full display.

For staying connected with the University of Miami’s Track and Field team, make sure to follow @canestrack on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.