Miami Sports Day

UM: Hurricanes’ Women’s Track Repeats as ACC Champions

Photo by HurricaneSports.com

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of Miami women’s team entered the 2017 ACC Indoor Championships as the favorites and they left as back-to-back champions.

After winning a year ago by just one point, the Hurricanes defended their 2016 ACC indoor championship in dominant fashion. Miami defeated Clemson by 15 points, scoring 113 points to secure the 2017 ACC indoor women’s team championship – its second straight indoor conference title and fourth in program history.

“It was awesome,”Miami director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem said. “They came in with a purpose and a focus. I kept waiting for the bubble to kind of burst – not that I didn’t have confidence in what we could do, but we were just kind of hitting on all cylinders. I am so pleased with the way they handled themselves and their composure and determination to repeat as ACC champions.”

The Canes eclipsed 100 points for the first time since scoring 117 in their 2006 ACC title performance. Miami also won back-to-back ACC indoor championships for the second time in program history, joining the 2005-06 consecutive team titles. With the victory, Deem is the active leader in ACC women’s indoor team titles with four.

“I’m just excited for the team,” Deem said. “I don’t really think about stuff like that, but it’s awesome. I hope it’s an inspiration for the young females out there. It’s tough to be a coach, whether you’re a man or a woman, but hopefully it gives inspiration to women that want to be head coaches.”

Shakima Wimbley made history on Saturday, become the first woman in ACC history to win four titles in a single event. The superstar senior, who was named ACC Women’s Track MVP for the second straight year, won her fourth consecutive indoor 200m title with a personal-best time of 22.83 seconds that set an ACC Championship record and ranks third in UM history.

“I’m grateful,” Wimbley said. “I put in a lot of hard work. I trusted in myself and in my training. I trained hard and I went for it. I just keep it simple. I go through my steps, set my blocks, talk about my race plan, mentally and physically prepare and I just go out and do what I can. I don’t really get pressured too easily. I just go out and do what I need to do.”

Wimbley also defended her ACC indoor 400m title, winning with an NCAA-leading time of 51.20 seconds. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native’s time set a new ACC record, ACC Championship record and school record, while leading a trio of Canes that finished in the top four in the event.

“It’s always more special to me to win the team championship,” Wimbley said. “I have won individual medals, but to win with my team is feels more fun. We all sweat every day and work hard every day. We’re a family and it feels great when we all win.”

Brittny Ellis earned a silver medal with a personal-best time of 52.19 seconds that puts her in the top six in the NCAA this season and ranks fourth in UM history, while Aiyanna Stiverne won section 1 of the women’s 400m final and finished fourth overall with an indoor-best time of 53.22 seconds.

“I am so proud of my teammates, but I am not surprised to see them do that because they train like beasts with me,” Wimbley said. They’re always alongside me in practice and I was just waiting for that moment where they would have that breakthrough.”

Ellis and Stiverne also excelled in the women’s 200m finals, posting times of 23.76 seconds. Ellis edged out Stiverne for fifth place at 23.754, while Stiverne was sixth at 23.757. Kristina Knott finished seventh at 24.07 seconds to round out a 19-point performance by the women in the 200m final.

Ebony Morrison was the first ACC individual champion for Miami on Saturday, winning the women’s 60m hurdles with a personal-best-tying time of 8.12 seconds. Michelle Atherley finished fourth overall with a personal-best time of 8.21 seconds and Stefani Kerrison placed fifth with a personal-best time of 8.25 seconds. The trio combined for 19 points towards the Hurricane women’s team score.

“I’ve never actually been on a team who is just overall great,” Morrison said. “I’ve done things myself, but collectively were are just a great group of women and it’s great to win my junior year and senior and end with a bang. It’s been a long road, especially struggling with my mother passing. I just wanted to make her proud and I found myself in a situation where that’s all I was focusing on and I wasn’t progressing. Now I’ve channeled myself and I’m doing PRs and I just won the ACC Championship and I’ve learned to channel myself to where I am supposed to be. She was a great woman and focusing on what’s important has gotten me so far.”

In addition to her success in the 200m, Knott earned a bronze medal in the women’s 60m final with a time of 7.34 seconds, adding six points to the women’s overall team score.

The women’s 4x400m relay team of Anna Runia, Stiverne, Erin Ford and Wimbley put an exclamation point on Miami’s team championship, defending the Canes’ relay championship with a time of 3:34.77 and scoring the Hurricanes’ final 10 points of the meet. The victory marked Miami’s third in the last four years in the women’s 4x400m relay.

“It’s the icing on the cake,” Wimbley said. “I can’t write a better ending to my ACC indoor career. It’s awesome and I just love how my teammates have so much confidence in me. They just know that if I am there, I am going to give it my all and they put me in good position and we went and got it.”

The Canes also scored in the throws on Saturday, as Zakiya Rashid earned two points for Miami’s women. The sophomore finished seventh in the women’s shot put with a personal-best mark of 14.97m. Sherry Lubin also reached the shot put finals, placing ninth with a personal-best throw of 14.60m.

“Ebony and Shakima have done so much,” Deem said. “Shakima has done do much for our program and Ebony got her first conference championship. They set the bar high for our underclassmen as two of our seniors. Shakima has had her success in the ACC, but she has had her struggles, as well. For the young kids to see our seniors continue to work hard and have great things come to them sets a great example for the next group.”

Miami’s men had a solid showing Saturday to close out their 2017 appearance at the ACC Indoor Championships, finishing in 11th place with 24 points.

Myles Valentine earned a bronze medal in the men’s 60m, finishing with a time of 6.75 seconds, while Isaiah Taylor scored two points for the men’s team with a time of 6.82 seconds to finish seventh.

Henri Delauze finished fourth in the men’s 400m final with a personal-best time of 46.82 seconds, scoring five points for Miami’s men. The junior’s time moved him up one spot into second place in school history.

The quartet of McKinly Brown, Delauze, Ibrahim Dodo and Tom Gassner combined to finish eighth in the men’s 4x400m relay with a time of 3:12.70 that ties for fifth in UM history.

Daniel Polinski was eighth in the men’s shot put with a mark of 17.03m, scoring one point for the Canes. Sean Grossman had a great race in the men’s 3000m, setting a school record with a personal-best time of 8:25.56. Grossman passed Chris Miller’s time of 8:27.81, set in 1998.

“Our men’s program hoped to do a little bit better this weekend, but we have a lot of young, great kids and they are definitely a tight unit,” Deem said. “It was tough losing Jaalen because he was a big part of the team, but I think they’ll learn from it. I think moving forward with Tristan [Schultheis] in the high jump, and Isaiah and Brandon [Taylor] and Myles, I think that our young kids are going to learn from it and they’re going to go back and work harder and make sure they’re in a better position outdoors. They’re taking it the right way. They want to get better and want to get focused.”

Following the ACC Indoor Championships, qualifying Hurricanes that rank in the top 16 in the NCAA in their events will travel to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships in College Station, Texas, on March 10-11.

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