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Canes Sports Recap 2019: Track and Field

Whether indoors or out, the Hurricanes led the pack in 2019

Twitter/@Miami Track/XC

In the next edition of our review of the 2018-19 season for non-revenue sports at the University of Miami, we’re highlighting the accomplishments from Track and Field. It was a banner year for the Hurricanes on the track, continuing a trend of success in the ACC competition, setting personal bests and crowning a national champion.

If you’re unfamiliar with how the season works in track and field, it’s split into an indoor season that runs throughout winter and an outdoor season that commences in the spring. Regardless of the setting, nothing stopped the Hurricanes from excelling on the big stage.

Michelle Atherley Earns the Crown as the Queen of the Track

After being named an All-ACC First Team member (Indoor) and ACC Women’s Outdoor MVP, you can only wonder how senior Michelle Atherley would top that performance in her final year of eligibility for the Canes. She didn’t surpass those marks — she shattered them. The North Port, Florida, native cleaned house of every possible award in both indoor and outdoor competition. Atherley broke through her previous ceiling to dominate multi-sport competition in the Pentathlon and Heptatholon. The woman has so many accolades that it requires a lengthy list to acknowledge all of them.

  • USTFCCCA All-America Honors, First Team - Heptathlon
  • 2019 ACC Indoor Pentathlon Champion
  • 2019 ACC Indoor Field MVP
  • 2019 ACC Scholar Athlete of the Year
  • USTFCCCA Indoor All-American, First Team
  • ACC Women’s Field Performer of the Year
  • 2019 NCAA Pentathlon Champion
  • 2019 ACC Outdoor Heptathlon Champion

Safe to say that Michelle Atherley was the face of Hurricanes’ Track and Field last season. With drive and determination, Atherley found success that reflects well on her as an athlete and UM’s program.

Final Lap for Raheem Chambers

Raheem Chambers

In sprinting, the men’s team was led by senior Raheem Chambers. From Kingston, Jamaica, he looked to build on being named 2018 USTFCCA Indoor First-Team All-American in the 60 meter dash. Chambers clocked a 20.98 official time in the 200 meter dash to open the outdoor season — the third fastest time in program history. Chambers also blew away the previous Hurricanes’ record in the 60 meter dash (Myles Valentine 6.65) with a 6.62 time at the ACC Indoor Championship.

A member of the Hurricanes’ 4x100m relay team, the sprinter managed to tie the second-fastest time in school history with a 10.09 second performance at 100m prelims at the ACC Outdoor Championships. Chambers qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships, where he finished 17th with a time of 10.19 in the 100m.

Go Long!

Debbie Ajagbe launched her way into national recognition in 2019. Making her case to be Miami’s fifth option at quarterback, Ajagbe set a personal best of 56.92 meters in the women’s discus at the NCAA’s 2019 Outdoor National Championship — second-best throw in UM history behind Khadija Talley 57.10m. The junior won both women’s shot put (14.94) and discus at the Hurricane Invitational. Ajagbe qualified for nationals, turning in yet another productive season.

Zakiya Rashid competed hard in her final season with the Hurricanes. Turning a personal best at the Texas Tech Invitational, Rashid qualified for the NCAA’s Indoor Championship. After an eighth-place finish, Rashid looked to improve her fortunes with the start of the Outdoor season. The highlights of that season would be her third-place finish at the Hurricanes Invitational in the shot put (14.68m) and finishing fourth in the discus (54.92m). Rashid turned in a second-place finish at the Tom Jones Memorial in the discuss with 53.23m. At the ACC Outdoor Championship meet, Rashid finished fourth in the shot put (15.57m) and her 52.40 meter landed her third in the discus. Following that performance, Rashid set a personal best with a 55.06m throw at the NCAA East preliminary— third-best throw in UM history. Rashid would close out her Miami career with a 10th place finish in the discus (55.01m) at the NCAA Outdoor Championship.

Leaping to Success in the 2019

Starting off the season strong, McMinn hurdled her way to victory (8.23 seconds) to begin the outdoor season in the 60m hurdles at UAB. The junior hurdler tied the country’s second-fastest time with a 7.95 performance in her second win of the season at ACC Indoor Championship. In the 200 meter event, McMinn finished with a season-best time of 23.89 at the ACC Indoor Championship as well. McMinn would be named to the USTFCCCA All-America Honors, Second-Team in the 60m Hurdles.

McMinn’s accomplishments in the Outdoor season consist of running 12.88 second in the 100m hurdles at the NCAA Championship and being a key member to UM’s 4x100 relay team.

Not to be outdone, Samantha Gonzalez did her thing in hurdles as well. A highlight from her season would be her second-place finish in the 400m (54.26) at the “Doc Hale” Elite Meet. Gonzalez was also a part of the 4x400 team that won gold at the NCAA Indoor Championship. The Texan was a key reason for the Hurricanes’ success in the 4x400 relay. In her final year on campus, Gonzalez would be named a First Team USTFCCCA All-America in the 400m Hurdles, Honorable Mention USTFCCCA All-America in the 4x400 Relay and Second-Team USTFCCCA All-America Honors as a member of the 4x400 relay.

Relay Results

Symone Mason, Brittany Ellis, Kayla Johnson and Samantha Gonzalez proved to be a productive unit in the 4x100 relay. The quad core of UM track and field qualified for the Nationals after turning in a 43.87 time in the Outdoor Championship. The group would race to a seventh-place finish in the 4x400 meter at the Indoor Nationals, clocking an official time of 3:32:62 — a season-best and the fourth best time in program history.