Coming off an impressive showing at the Husker Big Ten Invite last weekend, Maryland track and field looked to take things easy.
The weekend at the Big Ten Relays gave the Terps a chance to check out the venue of the Big Ten Championships. It also allowed them to experience a relay meet, something many of their athletes were robbed of due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We couldn’t go to all these big relay meets … so we’re kind of creating our own within the span of the Big Ten footprint,” coach Andrew Valmon said. “The primary purpose of this weekend is to have more of a relay meet to give the student-athletes a different experience because they can’t go to those other competitions.”
And Maryland made the most of the experience, coming out of Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, with a number of personal bests, records and podium finishes.
While the meet was tabbed as a relay meet, it was underscored by the Terps’ success in many of the individual events.
Members of the throwing team led the way, as star thrower Angel Nkwonta came away with a first-place finish in the women’s shot put open with a mark of 16.17 meters. Not only was it the third-best distance in program history, it also marked the first time Nkwonta finished first in shot put in over three months.
With a spin and a toss, freshman thrower Hayden Tobias joined Nkwonta with a first-place finish in the shot put open. His mark of 16.96 meters was also a personal best. Tobias also took third place in the hammer throw open with a mark of 48.03 meters.
Meanwhile, senior Alice Barnsdale contributed with a strong performance as well, finishing in third place in the women’s hammer throw with a mark of 57.76 meters. Nkwonta followed with a fourth-place finish, throwing for a distance of 57.29 meters.
On the track, Caleb Dean continued his impressive run with another lightning-quick performance in the 110-meter hurdles. The sophomore’s time of 14.06 second was good for 10th in outdoor program history.
Drake Murphy and Brandon Turpin also competed in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing back-to-back with times of 15.06 seconds and 15.12 seconds, respectively.
Coming off a personal best in the women’s 1500-meter at the Husker Big Ten Invite, Sarah Daniels walked away with another personal best in Illinois. In the 3000-meter steeplechase, Daniels’ time of 11:15.78 moved her into eighth in Maryland outdoor history.
For a Terps squad whose other goal this weekend was to have fun on the relays, those teams did not disappoint. Three relay squads took home third-place finishes all around.
On the women’s side, the 1600-meter sprint medley team of Jaida Smith, Cheyenne Jones, Bria Mack and Kami Joi Hickson finished in third place with a time of 4:02.37.
Meanwhile, the men’s 1600-meter sprint medley team of Dean, Cameron Vereen, Kobe Simpson and Brady Snelson finished with a time of 3:30.26. And the 4×400 relay team of Simpson, Brian Evans, Aaron Robinson and Colin Rowe closed out the weekend’s events, finishing with a time of 3:11.94.
It was an excellent weekend for Maryland, topped off by several strong relay finishes that left Valmon satisfied with his team’s performance.
“Finishing out the meet with a strong showing in the field events and relays on the track was a great way to end the weekend,” Valmon said.