Maryland women's track and field took ninth with 28 points at the Big Ten Indoor Championships at the SPIRE Institiute in Geneva, Ohio this weekend. The Terps took eighth last season, but, despite their ninth-place finish, have plenty of reasons to be excited about the future.
Head coach Andrew Valmon said that the Terps needed more bodies to be competitive. They needed "a variety of different women to step up across the board." In a sense, that is what Valmon got. Many different women contributed for Maryland, yet they didn't do as well as they did last year. The big difference was that last season, he had two All-Americans to help him in Amber Melville and Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year, Thea LaFond.
Micha Powell took first in the prelims in the 400 meter dash, but took third in the final. Alexandra Lucki earned two points by taking seventh in the mile. Powell is a junior and Lucki is a sophomore. These two both had breakout seasons.
Going into the meet, Valmon stressed the importance of the relay team doing well. The 4X400 relay team of Lisa Meneau, Taylor Tucker, Catherine Voelpel and Micha Powell took fifth. They are all juniors and will return next season. Peyton Wade, a sophomore, took fifth in the pentathlon. Kayla Richardson, another sophomore, earned a point by taking eighth in the triple jump.
Senior Chioma Onyekwere took second in the weight throw and took sixth in what is probably her best event, the shot put. Chioma missed out on fifth place by 0.03 meters. That's a little less than one and a quarter inches. Here's how to put it in layman's terms. Take a look at your thumb. From your first knuckle to the tip of your nail is about one inch. Add another 25 percent onto that, and that was the difference between fifth and six place at the Big Ten Indoor Championships for shot put.
The men's track and field team did not compete at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, but they'll be going again for the outdoor season. Valmon says that this team is buying in more and more to what he and the staff are selling. They are starting to really believe that they belong and that they have the ability to achieve some special things. The result was an assault on the school record book in the indoor season.
As Valmon coaches these kids up and continues to bring in high-level recruits, we are going to see the mentality that Valmon has preached come to fruition. "No record is safe."