In what was the culmination of a season’s worth of preparation and training, Maryland track and field delivered in one of its most dominant all-around performances at the Big Ten championships in Champaign, Illinois.
Though both the men’s and women’s teams ended the weekend in last place with 23 and 10 points respectively, some of the Terps’ individual performances were far from lackluster.
Perhaps nobody on the team had a better showing than Caleb Dean.
The sophomore entered this season with a number of goals, one of which was breaking a sub-50-second 400 meter hurdle time. Dean wasn’t able to do so in the preliminary round of the men’s 400 meter hurdle, finishing with a time of 50.86 seconds.
But Dean came back to finish what he set out to do no less than 48 hours later. Bolting from the block at record-setting pace, he leapt and bounded past each 42-inch hurdle with ease, Dean came into the finals and reached his goal.
Not only did the sophomore’s time of 49.77 seconds smash a personal record and earn him a second place finish, it also moved him to No. 2 in program history in the event.
But Dean was far from finished.
He attacked the 110 meter hurdles with similar pace, finishing with another personal best of 14.11 seconds.
Dean further flexed some of his versatility in the men’s 4×100 meter relay. Dean, Kamari Trotz, Joe Ewan and Cameron Vereen earned fifth place in the event, with a time of 40.19 seconds. While the group wasn’t able to snag a podium finish, their mark ranks as the second fastest time in Maryland history.
Thrower Angel Nkwonta also enjoyed a historic weekend when she broke a personal best and set a program record in the women’s hammer throw with a distance of 62.76 meters. She surpassed a mark set by teammate Alice Barnsdale in 2019.
Barnsdale had a strong showing herself, finishing just behind Nkwonta with a mark of 60.71 meters.
Joining Dean with a podium finish was Kaithon McDonald. He soared for a career high 2.14 meters in the men’s high jump — good for third place.
Later, Lillian Hill broke her own program record in the women’s javelin throw with a mark of 43.24 meters to finish ninth.
Though they did not qualify for the finals, three Terps delivered their strongest showings of the season in the women’s 1500 meter race. Christine Laurie had her best finish since the 2019 Big Ten championships, racing to a season best 4:32.52. Anna Coffin and Amanda Eliker set personal bests as well, finishing with times of 4:34.55 and 4:39.32, respectively.
On the men’s side of the track, three Terps had career best performances in the 100 meter dash. Ewan led the way with a new high of 10.63 seconds, followed by personal bests from Vereen at 10.64 seconds and Trotz at 10.69 seconds.
And while those points weren’t enough to put Maryland higher up on the board, these performances resulted in a dozen Terps qualifying for the NCAA preliminary competitions starting May 26 in Jacksonville, Florida.
“The performances highlighted what we have been working toward all season,” coach Andrew Valmon said. “The athletes came out to score points for the team and set the standard higher in the process.”