The University of Miami women’s track and field team won its third ACC Indoor Championship on Saturday, edging out Clemson and Notre Dame in a highly competitive conference meet that came down to the final event.
The Hurricanes scored 85 points to claim their third ACC Indoor Championship and first since 2006. Miami, who also won the ACC indoor title in 2005 and 2006, scored the most points since posting 99 to finish second in 2007. Clemson finished second with 83 points, while Notre Dame was third with 82 and Florida State finished fourth with 70 points.
The 2016 track title was the tightest race (pun intended) in conference history, with just 15 points separating the champion from the fourth-place team.
“It was a hard fought battle, definitely one of the hardest fought conference championships that I’ve had the privilege to coach,” Miami director of track and field/cross country Amy Deem said. “To see the kids come together the way they did and to have such a balanced team with points coming from the high jump and the triple jump and the pole vault and the throws and on the track, I’m just really proud of them. They stuck together as a team and never got rattled. They really wanted this and believed in themselves and that’s why we have a championship.”
The Hurricanes had a big day in the women’s 400m, winning a gold medal and combining to score 17 points in the event. Shakima Wimbley won gold in the 400m, finishing first with a season-best time of 52.63 seconds that netted Miami 10 points. Aiyanna Stiverne’s time of 53.71 seconds tied her personal-best and placed her fourth, scoring five points for Miami. Brittny Ellis ran a personal-best time of 54.73 seconds to place seventh and score two points for the Canes.
Wimbley and Stiverne also made a big impact in the 200m final, combining for 14 points for the Hurricane women. Wimbley earned her second gold medal of the day, running a time of 23.30 seconds to repeat as ACC champion and score 10 points for the women. Stiverne earned a fifth place finish with a time of 23.87 seconds, adding four points to her team’s score.
“I’ve made the USA team and have won multiple individual medals, but too be able to celebrate with my teammates is special because we all came together to win this championship as a team,” Wimbley said.
Ebony Morrison earned a silver medal in the women’s 60m hurdles and scored eight points for Miami’s women, placing second in the final with a time of 8.19 seconds that was just one-hundredth behind her personal-best that ranks fifth in UM history.
“Day 1 was really hard for me,” Morrison said. “I was constantly thinking negative thoughts and I talked to Coach Deem about it and she assured me to think positively. I prayed about it and asked the Lord to bless me to use what I have and today I did what I had to do and I’m grateful for it. I’m so blessed to be here. Coach Deem has helped me so much. Coming from my mom passing away and not wanting to try anymore to now being part of a team that won a conference championship is just overwhelming and I’m very grateful to be part of it.”
Precious Ogunleye scored the first points of the day for Miami’s women, placing fifth in the women’s shot put with an indoor-best mark of 15.10m. Senior Taylor Gunn reached the shot put finals, placing ninth with a mark of 14.20m.
Alexis Wright finished eighth in the women’s triple jump, scoring a point for the women thanks to an indoor-best mark of 12.14m. Niara Hill just missed the finals, placing 10th with her indoor-best triple jump mark of 12.04m.
The women’s 4x400m relay of Destiny Washington, Stiverne, Ellis and Wimbley combined to win the gold medal with a time of 3:34.72, giving Miami 10 points and clinching the ACC Women’s Indoor Track and Field team championship.
For her efforts, Wimbley was named the 2016 ACC Women’s Indoor Track Most Outstanding Performer. The junior scored 22.5 points for Miami, winning gold medals in the 200m, 400m and 4x400m relay.
“I’m very excited and happy for my team,” Wimbley said. “We finally did what we have been trying to do all season. We worked very hard and were very deserving. I’m just happy to have been able to get so many points and help my team win the title.”