Jan. 15, 2014
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Florida Atlantic University’s track team prepares to open the 2014 indoor season at the Jimmy Carnes Invitational hosted by the Gainesville Sports Commission at the University of Florida in Gainesville on Friday, Jan. 17.
FAU’s sprint group returns four All-Conference athletes from the 2013 squad including Danielle Aromashodu (400-meter hurdles), Lauren Walton (400-meter hurdles), Valerie Dixon (800-meter) and Tanisha Coppin (4x400-meter).
Aromashodu returns as a three-time conference champion and three-time NCAA qualifier in the 400-meter hurdles. She concluded the 2013 track season with a 28th-place finish at the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Preliminary Championships with a final time of 59.38. The senior currently holds the school record for the event with 58.33, which she set during the 2013 outdoor season.
Walton will start the season having set the fifth best time in school history in the indoor 60-meter hurdles and the sixth best time in the indoor 55-meter hurdles. She also holds the fourth best time in the outdoor 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:01.09. Dixon’s 2013 season was highlighted by finishing second at the indoor conference championship and setting a personal best in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:12.30 that also landed her on the team’s All-Time Top-10 list with the third best time. To round out FAU’s returners, Coppin will be coming off of a momentous freshman season during which she set the second, fifth, and 10th best times in school history, competing with three different 4x400-meter relay teams.
The sprint group will be joined by 10 newcomers including, Deja Jones (100/200-meter), Regina Wilkerson (100/200-meter), Sitia Martinez (100/200-meter and 300-meter hurdles), Mar’Rhea Everheart (200/400-meter and long jump), Nicole Poole (100/200-meter), Whitney McKelton (100/300-meter hurdles and high jump), Elana Ainsley (100/200-meter), Briona Hopkins (100/200-meter), Yasmine Gardiner (100/200-meter) and Keeana Lewis (high jump).
The distance group will be led by Chloe Sell, recipient of Conference USA’s Cross Country Runner of the Week and Second-Team All-Conference honors for the 2013 cross country season. Sell most recently qualified for the NCAA South Regional Championships, however, due to a foot injury from the Conference USA Championships she was unable to compete. Sell led the 2013 cross country team with a final time of 17:46.90 in the 5K.
“We are very excited to welcome such a deep and talented group of newcomers to the team,” said Alex Smolka, head coach. “We are very much looking forward to watching them compete for the first time in FAU uniforms.”
FAU will compete in four indoor meets before its first Conference-USA Track and Field Indoor Championships on Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1 in Birmingham, Ala. The team’s 2014 outdoor season is set to open on Friday, March 21 at the University of Miami’s Hurricane Invitational.