Feb. 14, 2009

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LANDOVER, Md. - The University of Maryland Eastern Shore's men's and women's indoor track and field teams finished fourth and third, respectively, in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships completed Saturday at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex.

Both UMES teams earned one event win on the final day of competition. Senior Merrecia James (Portland, Jamaica) broke the MEAC indoor record in the mile run in 5:00.44, besting the former mark by nearly five seconds, which Hampton's Eboni White held since 2004.

The men's 4x400-meter relay team of junior Allodin Fothergill (New Hempstead, N.Y.), sophomores Thomas Keane Dawes (Camden, N.C.) and Paul Jones-Burden (Rahway, N.J.) and freshman Ahkeem Gauntlett (Roselle, N.J.) took that race in 3:16.52.

The 20 points helped UMES to 88 overall in the women's standings and 57 in the men's. Hampton won its seventh consecutive women's title with 148, while Norfolk State earned its four straight men's crown with 150.

The Lady Hawks, who led the championships heading into action Saturday, tallied 36 points on the day and the Hawks posted 35 to jump three spots from seventh.

UMES had two more scorers in the James' record-breaking mile run. Senior Celia Whyte (Manchester, Jamaica) and junior Tamica Thomas (St. Catherine, Jamaica) finished fifth and eighth in times of 5:14.72 (three points) and 5:19.79 (one).

James was second in the 3,000 meters with Thomas and sophomore Eunice Jones (Lanham, Md.) scoring as well. James picked up eightmore points, crossing the line in 10:20.76. Thomas was sixth in 10:50.36 for three points and Jones ran seventh in 10:52.57 for two.

The women's 4x400-meter relay squad of Whyte, sophomore Danai Lendor (Lawrenceville, N.J.) and freshmen Monique Hawkins (Randallstown, Md.) and Cynthia Anais (Paris, France) took third in that event with a time of 3:49.08 for six points.

Hawkins was also seventh in the 400 meters in 57.96, earning two points.

Six runners topped a 17-year-old MEAC indoor record in the men's 3,000 meters as NSU's Dominic Luka won the event in 8:53.01. UMES sophomores Amon Kiprotich (Kapsabet Kenya) and Peter Sang (Kapsabet Kenya) were third and sixth respectively in 8:54.50 and 8:58.74 for a total of nine points.

Sang was also eighth in the mile run in 4:30.69 for one point. Gauntlett was eighth in 200 in 22.18 to post his 11th point of the day.

The Hawks took six points in the heptathlon with senior Jamahl Strachan (Nassau, Bahamas) and freshman Jermol Dix Catonsville, Md.) finishing with totals of 4,402 and 4,331, respectively. Strachan was fifth; Dix was seventh.

UMES next travels to Blacksburg, Va., for the Virginia Tech Challenge Feb. 20-21.



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