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Maryland track & field finishes season at NCAA Championships

This is the Maryland Minute, a short story followed by a roundup of Terps-related news.

Maryland track & field Xahria Santiago Photo by Maryland Athletics

Five Maryland Track and Field athletes competed in the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas, from Thursday through Saturday.

Thursday’s festivities kicked off with the women’s 1500m race, where graduate student Alex Lucki represented the Terps. She holds the second-fastest time in program history with a 4:18.62 mark, and she nearly matched it with a 4:19.45, good for 17th place out of 24 competitors. For her performance, she earned an All-American honorable mention.

Last year, then-freshman Xahria Santiago narrowly missed the chance to head to the NCAA Championships. But on Thursday as a sophomore, she placed just outside the top 10 in the country, earning an 11th-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 57.62. That was good for Second Team All-American honors, and it seems as though she’ll have a bright future with the program.

To cap the night off, senior Jewel Smith competed in the women’s long jump finals for the second consecutive season. After placing 22nd out of 24 jumpers in 2018 with a 5.94-meter jump, she reached 6.21 meters this year to secure 13th place and a Second Team All-America honor.

Competition picked back up Friday night, and senior Greg Thompson was the lone Terp in action. His incredible season included a 65.56-meter discus throw at the Penn Relays — the best throw in the nation this season — and becoming the first Big Ten champion in program history. Thompson finished 12th with a 57.37-meter throw after placing second last year, and closes his career with Second Team All-American honors.

The last day of events was Saturday, and Mikella Lefebvre-Oatis competed in the women’s high jump. The junior, who came in this season as a transfer from UCLA, finished 24th with a jump of 1.70 meters and earned an All-American honorable mention.

In other news

Maryland football is ushering in a new era under Mike Locksley, and Thomas took a look at the program to kick off our State of the Program series.

Former Clemson linebacker Shaq Smith, who just won a national championship against Alabama five months ago, has officially transferred to Maryland.

The basketball team plans to fill its assistant coaching vacancy with former Michigan assistant DeAndre Haynes, who wasn’t retained in Ann Arbor after John Beilein left for the NBA.

Former Terps pitcher Mike Shawaryn made his MLB debut this weekend against the Tampa Bay Rays, pitching four innings across two appearances Friday and Saturday. He had seven strikeouts and allowed just one run, making his ERA a crisp 2.25.

He also faced another former Terp, Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe, though that matchup between former teammates ended in a hit-by-pitch.

Tre Watson, who nearly signed with the Washington Redskins before finding a home in South Beach with the Miami Dolphins, showed off his new uniform on Twitter.

Anthony Cowan Jr. is coming back to Maryland for his senior season, and he sat down with the NCAA’s Andy Katz to discuss his plans for his final season.

Midfielder Paul Bin received the National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals Wilma Rudolph Award, which “honors student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics.” Read Joe Catapano’s feature on Bin overcoming depression.

Former Terps goalie Zack Steffen made his 10th international appearance with Team USA on Sunday. The 24-year-old is now the second-fastest goalie in program history to make double-digit appearances.

Chase Gasper, one of four players from the 2018 national championship team to be selected in this year’s MLS Draft, made his debut on Saturday night for Minnesota United FC.

The Whipsnakes of the Premier Lacrosse League, who have 20 former Terps on the squad, won in overtime once again on Sunday.