Closing out strong

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By: Muhammad Waheed, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of towsontigers.com

Senior Ksenia Safonova placed first in the hammer throw as Towson competed in the Victor Lopez Classic at Rice University’s Wendel D. Ley Track in Houston, Texas, this weekend.

Safonova’s first-place throw of 192-6 was a season-best. She was one of three Tigers to compete in the event.

“She’s one of the top throwers on the East Coast and we expected her to do that,” Head Coach Mike Jackson said. “She’s just one of the best, so this wasn’t a surprise for us.”

Junior Lauren Coleman placed fourth in the hammer throw with a 176-3, while junior Taylor Giles came in eighth place with a personal-best mark of 167-7.

Junior Phontavia Sawyer placed fourth in the discus throw with a 152-6 mark, setting a new school record in her first season after transferring from Virginia State. Junior Ashleigh Stallings held the previous school record of 150-11 which was set in 2016.

“She’s getting better in the discus,” Jackson said. “She’s really known to be more of a shot putter, but it was a pleasant surprise and a great performance for her, so she’s going to keep building on that. We’re looking to strengthen discus, which is an area we feel that we need to get better in this year.”

Three athletes finished in the top-five for throwing events this past weekend, continuing their success from the indoor season.

“They’re going to bigger meets and still doing well and winning, so it was just a great transition for them,” Jackson said. “They work very hard. They’re very diligent, and we have coach [Jeff] Rebholz who’s a great throws coach; they’re great athletes, he’s a great coach and it’s a great combination.”

Junior Liz Reid placed second in the 400-meter run, timing 54.92 seconds in her season debut in the event.

“She’s worked hard from the summer to now, and gained confidence and learned how to run at a high level,” Jackson said. “She’s very mature in terms of how she races — very smart and patient, and she runs to win. We’re glad to see her perform well in her first 400 race of the season.”

Sophomore Victoria Jones-Alleyne placed first in the B-section 100-meter hurdles, while coming in fourth overall with a time of 14.08 seconds.

“I think it was a good second meet,” Jackson said. “We’re knocking the cobwebs off for some of our student-athletes. Some of them weren’t happy with their performance, but the goal is to prepare and get ready for our championship season, so I thought it was a worthwhile trip.”

Next up, Towson will compete at the Pepsi Florida Relays at University of Florida’s Percy Beard Track inside James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. The meet runs March 29-31.

“We have a short week of practice,” Jackson said. “We’ll be practicing up till about Wednesday then we’ll travel out there, so the plan is to go out and make our presence known and send a message. We’re going to be with some of the best in the country and even in the world, depending on the event. We want to show that we’re capable, and I think we’ll do that.”

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