GENEVA, Ohio—Freshman Wadeline Jonathas (Gonaives, Haiti) highlighted the opening day of the 2017 Outdoor Track & Field National Championship on Thursday afternoon at the SPIRE Outdoor Stadium.
All eight UMass Boston student-athletes competed Thursday, as the Beacons men's and women's 4x100M relay teams also ran in the preliminaries. Jonathas crushed the competition in the 200M preliminaries, as she ran a stadium record 23.91 seconds-which was easily the fastest qualifying time. Running in the outside lane in the second of three heats, Jonathas got off to a fast start and grabbed a sizeable lead within the first 100 meters.
She cruised the rest of the way, and won her heat by just under a second (0.93 seconds) and beat the second-fastest runner by 0.49 seconds overall. The previous stadium record was 24.05 seconds. Jonathas will run on Friday in the 400M preliminaries (2:45 pm eastern) and then run in the finals of the 200M on Saturday at 2:40 p.m. She was also a part of the women's 4x100M relay team that was the first group on the track on Thursday. Lexy Bean (Danvers, Mass.) got the Beacons off to a solid start in the first leg and Jonathas sprinted past the competition to put the Beacons in first place in their heat heading into the second handoff.
The handoff between Jonathas and Olivia Burnes (Paxton, Mass.) went awry though, and Burnes and Taylor Driggers (Lisbon, Conn.) couldn't make up the distance. The team finished with a time of 47.998, but they were disqualified for the hand-off after the fact. The men's 4x100M team of Dom Nda (Pittsfield, Mass.), Garth Miriyoga (Johanesburg, South Africa), Bless Amedoadzi (Boston, Mass.) and Stefan Powell (Hyde Park, Mass.) went on next.
With the whole team banged up and coming off injuries, they posted a time of 44.67 seconds, which was not good enough to qualify for Saturday's finals.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Six of the Beacons eight athletes made their NCAA Championship Meet debut on Thursday. Jonathas and Nda each had appeared in one Championship Meet previous to this weekend.
- Jonathas' time of 23.91 seconds was her fourth-fastest this season. She ran the fastest time this year and in Division III history in the 200M with a time of 23.67 seconds.
- Jonathas is looking to win her first title in the 200M, after finishing second at Indoor Nationals to Amber Celen of Bridgewater University (Va.). Celen qualified for Saturday's final with the third-fastest time (24.44).
Jonathas will look to defend her 400M title from Indoor Track, when she runs in the 400M preliminaries on Friday at 2:40 p.m.