Maryland’s star weight thrower Angel Nkwonta finished second in the women’s shot put and fourth in the women’s weight throw at the 2021 Big Ten indoor track and field championships. Looking to come back stronger this year, she made a tweak to her throwing technique.
The sixth-year graduate student added another rotation to her weight throw that previously only featured two. The typical number of times a weight thrower spins before releasing the weight is three or four, and Nkwonta wanted to do the same.
After cruising through the indoor regular season, which ended with multiple podium finishes and program records, the success failed to carry over to the postseason.
“The lack of consistency in my practices just kind of carried on,” Nkwonta said. “My practices haven’t been consistently great … I’ve been able to compete regardless of how my practices have gone but this just wasn’t the case.”
Nkwonta, who said the struggles in practice have been ongoing throughout the entire indoor season, finished 14th in the shot put in the 2022 conference indoor championships with a score that was nearly two meters shorter than her distance in the 2021 conference championships, which was good for second place. She similarly struggled in the weight throw. Her top score of 20.07 meters, which placed ninth, was also less than her distance from the same event the year prior.
“The idea was with the three turn I would be able to get first place instead of, you know, maybe fourth or fifth,” she said.
The women’s team leader’s struggles were a sign of what was to come for Maryland women’s track and field at the Big Ten Championships Friday and Saturday in Geneva, Ohio. No Terps advanced to next week’s NCAA championships.
Only two Terps finished in the top-10 of their events, the other coming from Madison Depry in the high jump. Depry cleared the 1.65 and 1.70 meter bars but failed to get over the 1.75 meter height, finishing in a tie for ninth place.
Maryland found its most success in the team events. Friday, the distance medley relay team of Christine Laurie, Ariana Wright, Mackenzie Morgan and Anna Coffin raced to a 11 minute, 35.78 second time, the fifth best finish in program history.
On Saturday, the 4-by-400 meter relay team of Depry, Kattiana Ealy-Pulido, Ariana Ealy-Pulido and Kasey Ebb ran to a season best time of 3:49.25 and placed 11th.
Other notable individual efforts included Katie Altieri, who set a personal record in the 3,000 meter run, and Ebb, who set a season-best in the 400 meter preliminary race.
Alice Barnsdale also competed in the women’s weight throw, finishing 12th. Chelsey Cole placed 11th in the triple jump.
“It was a little disappointing,” Nkwonta said. “You live and you learn.”
While this marks the conclusion of the indoor season for Maryland’s women, the men’s indoor team’s season ended even earlier.
In 2012, the university cut seven sports, including men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, for financial reasons. A private campaign was started to raise the $3.76 million needed to keep men’s outdoor track and field alive, which was successful. Although outdoor remained in place, men’s indoor track and field was not brought back.
The university allows men’s track and field athletes to compete during indoor season meets in preparation for the outdoor season, a spokesperson from the athletic department said, but the unsponsored team can not compete in the indoor Big Ten or NCAA championships.