Angel Nkwonta didn’t know she’d broken a record. Her routine was the same for every weighted throw: spin, toss, land and watch the weight fly.
But this time, it kept going — further than usual. And when it landed 20.62 meters away from her, Nkwonta wasn’t aware that she’d smashed Maryland’s record by 2.6 meters.
That was, until coach Andrew Valmon told her.
“I didn’t realize until a couple minutes later, so I got to share that moment with my teammates. It was pretty special” Nkwonta said.
Nkwonta’s moment of joy was one of many for Maryland track and field Saturday. The team, despite not competing in almost a year, enjoyed a day marked by personal bests and program records in its Big Ten opener at Penn State.
Nkwonta led the way for the Terps on the women’s side. The senior made history early, breaking both the school record and cementing herself as second in state history in the weight throw.
After whiffing on her first attempt, Nkwonta bounced back with her next few tries, culminating in eventually smashing the school record on her fifth attempt — besting fellow senior Alice Barnsdale’s record by nearly 3 meters.
Her score also trails the Maryland state record by just half a meter.
The rest of the Maryland women’s team had a strong outing in the weight throw, with Barnsdale and junior Kamryn Henderson finishing second and third respectively.
But, Nkownta was far from finished. She also broke her personal best in the shot put with a distance of 16.75 meters, good for second best in program history.
Maryland’s women’s team also enjoyed a successful day on the track. Bria Mack edged the rest of the competition by 0.05 seconds to win the 60-meter dash. Meanwhile, Mackenzie Morgan placed second to Penn State’s Madaline Ullom in the 3000-meter.
Maxwell Myers cruised around the final bend of the men’s 600-meter, striding purposefully two paces ahead of his competition. Penn State’s Will Ashenfelter stretched, but made his push too late, allowing Myers to hold him off en route to a first place finish. Mere yards behind him, Travis Valmon stormed towards the finish, tallying a spot on the podium, too.
Myers and Valmon’s strong finishes were part of numerous records and strong performances from the men’s team.
Caleb Dean and Drake Murphy both set personal bests in the 60-meter hurdles. Dean ran a 7.95, good for fourth-best in program history, while Murphy ran an 8.37.
Maryland dominated the 60-meter dash in similar fashion, with Joe Ewan and Kamari Trotz finishing in first and second place, respectively. Ewan finished the sprint in 6.87 seconds to tie his personal record, while Trotz set a personal best of his own, finishing in 6.92 seconds.
The men’s 4x400m team set a pace of 3:15.50, good for seventh all-time in Maryland history.
So, in its first competition in almost a year, Maryland track and field appeared in midseason form. And as the meets come on a weekly basis, and the Terps find some competitive rhythm, there could be many more program records to break.