Miami track and field sets records at Music City Challenge, Tiger Paw Invitational

Junior Sierra Oliveira running at the Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, South Carolina from Feb. 10-11. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

The University of Miami’s track and field team dominated in two different states this weekend. The distance runners raced in Nashville, Tennessee at the Music City Challenge, while the sprints and field events went down at the Tiger Paw Invitational in Clemson, South Carolina.

At both meets, the ‘Canes brought the heat.

Senior Ayman Zahafi and sophomore Daphnee Lavassas shattered school records.

Assistant coach Cody Halsey led the distance runners in Nashville, and decided Zahafi would run in the men’s one-mile event for the first time in his career. Zahafi blew the school record out of the water with a time of 4:05.83.

Halsey was happy with the decision to put Zahafi in a new event, saying that he thrives in race situations and is proud of how he and the team raced as a whole.

“Ayman handled it brilliantly,” Halsey said. “I’m really excited about their progression and hope to keep that momentum up.”

Lavassas broke the next school record by a whopping 33 seconds, with a time of 16.18.33 for the women’s 5000m.

Also in Nashville, junior Natalie Varela ran a personal best in the women’s one mile, earning her a No. 5 spot on the program’s all-time list. Her time was 4:50.96, and she finished just before sophomore Elle Mezzio, who ran 4:55.69, a personal best.

Mezzio also earned a personal best in the women’s 3000m, along with a place at No. 5 in the program history for the indoor women’s 3000m.

For the men’s 3000m, Justin Rittenhouse (8:26:66), Enrique Borrego (8:24:00) and Austen Cannon (8:20,92) ran and all raced a personal best, landing them spots at No. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, on the all-time indoor program record for this event.

At the Tiger Paw Invitational, graduate student Décio Andrade threw a weight throw for a distance of 22.48m, breaking the program record.

Junior Moriah Oliveira ran in the women’s 400m spring, breaking her personal record with a time of 52.18. This landed her a spot in the top five of the program’s all-time indoor 400m event. Junior Blanca Hervas Rodriguez finished just behind Oliveira with a time of 53.75, also a personal best.

Hannah-Sophia Hall competed in the women’s weight throw, earning a personal best and breaking the 20m threshold with a final distance of 20.84. She also took home second in the shotput with a distance of 16.71m.

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Championships are approaching quickly for these ‘Canes, as they have less than two weeks before heading to Louisville, Kentucky to go head-to-head with the best athletes in the ACC to earn a spot at nationals.

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