VMI Opens Indoor Track and Field Season with Successful Showing

Keydets set school records and qualifying times in season-opening meet

LEXINGTON, Va. -- A total of four postseason qualifying times and two school records were set by the VMI men's and women's indoor track and field teams today during which they recorded four first-place finishes as the Keydets opened their season in the annual VMI Invitational held on post at the "Pit" in Cormack Field House. Three of the first-place finishes came from the women's team while the men had one.

Senior Mildred Cooper (Gretna, Va./Gretna) and freshman Ashley West (Miami, Fla./Northwestern) had record-breaking performances. Cooper surpassed her own school mark in the 20-pound weight throw with a throw of 54' 2". West established a school record in the 55-meter high hurdles with a time of 8.87 seconds to surpass the old mark of 9.57 which was set by Jennifer Carroll in 2000. Furthermore, both the men and women had individuals record postseason qualifying times as Cooper recorded ECAC qualifying times in the shot put (45' 5.5") and the 20-pound weight (54' 2"). Meanwhile, junior Garrett Brickner (Fairfax, Va./Lake Braddock) and senior Austin Wakefield (Wake Forest, N.C./Wake Forest) each recorded IC4A qualifying times in the high jump and shot put with respective marks of 6' 11" and 51' 6".

The Keydets had a strong all-around performance in the meet as they combined to record 22 top six finishes on the day. Cooper's recording-setting performance in the 20-pound weight throw saw her take second in the event while freshman Ania Najda (Olsztyn, Poland/Univ. of Warmia and Mazury) placed first in both the one mile run and the 1,000 meter run with respective times of 5:35.61 and 3:15.47. The women's team was also supported well by junior Amber Blain (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) who finished second in the one mile run at 5:53.24 and junior Shelly Mackall (Baltimore, Md./Poly) who placed fourth in the 55-meter dash at 7.42.

The men's team recorded 13 of the 22 top-six finishes on the day with Brickner taking first place in the high jump at 6' 11", the only first place finish by the men's team. Also placing high for the men's team was Wakefield who took second in the shot put with a throw of 51' 6" and also took fifth place in the 35-pound weight throw at 51' 3.5". A pair of Keydets placed high in the 1,000 meter run as sophomore Mark Bush (Bristol, Tennessee/Tennessee) placed second at 2:40.98 while freshman Ben Switzer (Lexington, Va./Rockbridge Co.) came in third at 2:45.96. Senior Ty Denby (Scottsville, Va./Fluvanna Co.) finished sixth in the pole vault after clearing 15' 3".

VMI returns to action following the holiday break on the weekend of January 14-15 when some travel to The University of Kentucky and some travel to Virginia Tech for invitational meets.