Simon (above) broke two school records during the indoor season

March 14, 2014

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. -- After a cross country season this past fall which saw underclassmen leading the way for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Hawks track team, the indoor season saw its fair share of both upperclassmen and underclassmen take home strong finishes all winter long.

The season wrapped up with the IC4A/ECAC Championships in Boston. There were many strong performances last weekend, with junior Gayon Evans (Clarendon, Jamaica) leading the way. Her efforts in the 200 meter dash set a brand new school record with a time of 23.36 seconds. Evans, who specializes in the short distance sprints, earned five first place finishes combined in the 60 and 200 meter dashes, along with a high of second place in the 400 meter. Gayon narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA tournament in Albuquerque, placing 21st overall in the country in the 60 meter dash with her time of 7.34 seconds at the Coach O Invitational last December. The NCAAs take the top sixteen to the finals in New Mexico.

Also at the IC4As, the Lady Hawks set a new record in the 4x800 meter relay, despite not running that particular race all season long. The team of freshman Rachel Halmon (Waldorf, Md.), sophomores Shantol Hemley (St. Catherine's, Jamaica) and Jheniel Kelly (Edgewood, Md.) and junior Annis Mars (Brooklyn, N.Y.) set the record with a time of 8:52.89 in the preliminaries. That time earned them qualifications in the final, where they finished fifth with a time of 8:57.67.

While Evans came the closest of any Hawk to advance to the NCAAs, junior Dillon Simon (Pottersville, Dominica) also finished with an impressive indoor season. Simon actually recorded the most wins of any UMES track athlete with nine, and broke two school records along the way. A thrower for the Hawks, Dillon's distance of 18.81 meters in the shot put set last February at the Columbia Invitational broke a six-year-old record and ranks 27th in the NCAA among shot put hurlers. Simon also broke a school record several times over in the weight throw, with his finest toss coming at the Brown Navy Invitational last January. His distance of 19.61 meters ranked him 53rd overall in the NCAAs and surpassed the initial school weight throw record by over three meters.



Freshman Khalil Rmidi Kinnini (Malaga, Spain) was among the best Hawks in the cross country season and hardly skipped a beat in the indoor season. A fine winter for the young distance runner culminated with him setting a new record in the 3000 meter run with a time of 8:25.91 at the Boston Last Chance Meet March 2nd, breaking a five-year-old record. Rmidi Kinnini also picked up two wins during the indoor season, one in the 3000 meter and one in the mile run.

Graduate student Geranda Williams (Waldorf, Md.) broke her own school record in the triple jump with a jump of 11.94 meters at the Armory Invitational last February. Williams also picked up a victory with a jump of 11.42 meters at the Navy Invite on January 9th.

There were other track athletes who did not break any records but had excellent seasonal performances. Freshman Jared Kerr (Brampton, Ontario, Canada) enjoyed a fine first season as well. Competing in the long jump and triple jump for the Hawks, Kerr posted seven wins, six coming in the long jump. His best distance in the long jump, 7.44 meters at the Coach O Invitational last December, ranks 47th in the NCAA.  Senior Ramone Waite (Kingston, Jamaica) holds the top two times in the men's 60 meter and 200 meter dashes, while earning two first place finishes. Another senior, Aaron Chatman (Waldorf, Md.), paced the Hawks in the 400 meter dash, earning the top seven times in that event, including his best time of 47.75 in the IC4A preliminaries. Chatman earned a spot in the finals where he finished sixth with a time of 47.80 seconds.

On the women's side, Shantol Hemley, aside from her record setting performances as a runner in the 4x800 relay, holds the top times in the 500, 800, and 1000 meter runs. Hemley registered one win in the 500 meter dash for her efforts. In the mile run, Rachel Halmon finished with the top time of 5:23.71 at the Armory Invitational last February. From the field, freshmen Evelyn Chappell (Bowie, Md.) and Shauntel Lucious (Newark, N.J.) earned three combined wins in the high jump, while Lucious got a victory in the pole vault at the UMES Invitational in January. Senior Shawnata Young (Temple Hills, Md.) scored the highest marks in the shot put and weight throw with distances of 12.20 meters and 15.25 meters, respectively. Both marks came at the MEAC Championships in February, and the weight throw distance earned her fifth place.

While team scoring did not factor into every meet, the men finished fifth in the MEAC Championships, while the women finished seventh. At the IC4As, the men finished 8th and the women finished 11th, both with abridged teams of athletes that met the high qualifying standards of the meet.  

The Hawks' outdoor track season will begin a week from Saturday, on March 22nd, when they travel to Annapolis, Md. for the Navy Invitational.

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