Nine USF athletes traveled to Arizona on April 11-12 to compete in the Sun Angel Invitational, which was held at Arizona State and consisted of athletes from schools all over the country. While only a handful of Dons made the trip to Arizona to participate in the meet, many of them left the Grand Canyon State with top-10 finishes under their belt.
The highlight of the meet for the Dons was junior Sean Gomes‘ fifth place finish in the men’s 800-meter (0.5 mile) race. Gomes crossed the line with a time of 1:52.44, well ahead of most of the other competitors in the 26-person race. Running alongside Gomes for USF was freshman Omar Solis, who crossed the finish line just 3.94 seconds after Gomes to complete the race in fifteenth place.
“[Sean Gomes] matched his personal best at 800 meters, and will certainly be able to crank it up a few notches the next couple outings,” head coach Helen Lehman-Winters said.
No Don finished higher than fifth in an event, but freshman Asaundra Dalton broke the top 10 in her event, the 200-meter (0.12 mile) dash. Dalton finished in 25.31 seconds, good enough to earn her seventh place. Dalton’s time put her ahead of her teammate, freshman Lupe Medina, who came in fourteenth place with a time of 26.82 seconds. The duo of Dalton and Medina also ran in the women’s 400-meter dash, but their results were not as positive. Dalton finished eleventh overall, while Medina trailed her closely and came in thirteenth.
Like Dalton in the 200-meter dash, sophomore Eleni Fkiaras also finished seventh in the 400-meter (0.25 mile) hurdles. Fkiaras was hoping for a strong finish after earning second place and narrowly besting her personal record at the Stanford Invitational. Unfortunately, her time of 1:04.22 was not quite enough to separate her from the pack in a field that included runners from Texas A&M, Boise State, and Kansas. Megan Kelley of Boise State took first place in the race and ended the course less than two seconds ahead of Fkiaras.
Redshirt junior Kamilah Davis also finished amongst the top ten, dashing to the finish line in 12.53 seconds in the 100-meter (.06 mile) sprint. The event included 17 other sprinters from schools such as Arizona State, the host of the meet, and California schools UC Riverside and UC Davis.
In the field, junior Nile Norwood competed in the long jump event and grabbed eighth place after leaping 6.38 meters. Freshman Katoa Ahau and junior Cameron Farrell were both contestants in the men’s javelin throw, landing in seventh and eighth place, respectively, with throws 50.80 and 50.36 meters.
After having multiple runners finish near the top of the pack at the Sun Angel Invitational, the Dons will now prepare for the Mt. Sac Invitational, which will be held in Pomona, Calif. from April 17-19. USF will also send a group of athletes to the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif. from April 18-19. With only five events left on the calendar until the NCAA West Preliminaries, the Dons must continue to prove that they are able to compete with other major schools. Lehman-Winters was pleased with some of the individual efforts in Arizona, but acknowledges that there is room for improvement.
“We had a few highlights, but clearly we have more work to do to get where we need to be,” Lehman-Winters said.