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Maryland track and field’s Alice Barnsdale breaks facility record, Terps turn in nine first-place finishes in home opener

A handful of Terps had strong performances.

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland track and field graduate student Alice Barnsdale broke the University of Maryland’s Kehoe Track facility record in the hammer throw with a winning mark of 200 feet, three inches to notch the first of nine first-place Terrapin finishes at the Maryland Invitational home opener this Saturday.

Barnsdale’s mark surpassed the previous facility record of 198-5 set by Virginia Tech’s Tamara Burns in 2007.

The unscored Maryland Invitational garnered a competitive field of athletes from Howard University, Coppin State, Morgan State, Youngstown State, Catholic University, Wilmington University, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The Terrapins defended their home turf well with a strong showing across both the men’s and women’s teams.

“We really started to come on strong at the end of the indoor season,” Maryland head coach Andrew Valmon said. “Our goal today [was] to capitalize on this fitness and to hit the ground running for outdoor track with a smooth transition.”

Maryland’s fitness particularly showed in the men’s 800 meters.

The brutal half-mile race started with a conservative first lap split of 56 seconds. As the final lap bell rang, a tight pack of 10 athletes fought for limited space in the inner lane. In the flurry of shoving and elbow bumping on the first curve, Howard’s Kaleb Berry was forced to step briefly into the infield. When Berry stepped back on the track, he collided with Maryland graduate student Solomon Lawrence, who stayed upright but stumbled as Berry’s spikes drew blood.

“After something like that, you can’t wait,” Lawrence said after the race. “It’s not going to get any better. It’s a short race… you just gotta recover and go.”

Feeding off the adrenaline of the moment, Lawrence swung wide off the curve and surged past the frenzy to tuck in behind junior teammate Chase McGeehan and George Erazo (unattached) who led the race into the back stretch. Erazo kicked with 200 meters to go while Lawrence bided his time, using Erazo as a windshield before passing him on the curve in the final 150 meters.

The two went stride for stride down the home stretch, with Lawrence outlasting Erazo by .21 seconds, finishing in one minute, 55.22 seconds. McGeehan finished in fourth with a time of 1:57.01.

Other meet highlights

  • Senior Gwendolyn Zeckowski launched to 10 feet, 11 and 3/4 inches in the women’s pole vault to capture first place.
  • Freshman Matthew Bigelow won the men’s pole vault by over a foot, clearing 13 feet, nine and 1/4 inches.
  • Freshman Emma Pegg turned in a golden performance in her first collegiate 1,500 meters, winning in four minutes and 38 seconds.
  • Junior Gerald Norgbe won the men’s triple jump with a leap of 47 feet, four and 1/4 inches.
  • Junior Kattiana Ealy-Pulido won the women’s 400-meter hurdles handily in 62.93 seconds, two seconds ahead of the next competitor.
  • Sophomore Jessica Sutter won the javelin with a mark of 136 feet, nine inches. Senior Lillian Hill placed second with a throw of 132-11.
  • Maryland’s women dominated in the 3,000 meters from first to fourth place. Freshman Katie Altieri led the way in 10 minutes, 9.22 seconds. She was closely followed by junior Anna Coffin (10:09.73), graduate student Christine Laurie (10:10.53), and freshman Hannah Mack (10:49.74).

Looking ahead, Maryland remains focused on the Big Ten Championships and the NCAA East Preliminary Competition in May.

“Our individual goals are to get as many athletes qualified for post-season competition. Every competition that we attend this season will be an opportunity to bring attention to our program and to remain relevant everywhere we go,” Valmon said.

The Terps will travel to the University of Central Florida for the UFC Knights Invitational in Orlando from March 25-26 in search of sunshine and NCAA Preliminary qualifying times.