This past weekend, the University of Rhode Island’s women’s track and field team competed in the Raleigh Relays, hosted by North Carolina State.
This showcase of some of the most talented athletes from programs across the country saw three personal best performances for URI, along with two season best performances.
A group of just four Rhode Island athletes competed in this scoreless meet.
“A little bit of illness and, you know, a couple injuries… It was an even smaller group than planned,” said Head Coach Laurie Feit-Melnick.
Although just a small fraction of the team was in attendance, a scoreless meet such as this one gives a little more power and emphasis to the individual performers, according to Feit-Melnick.
The women who would represent Rhode Island first made their mark on the second day of the meet. After the Rams sent zero competitors on day one, this day saw four different Rams compete across four different events.
Fifth-year captain Trinity Smith represented Rhode Island in two events, the 100 meter and the 100 meter hurdles.
In the 100 meter, a 12.33 second sprint was enough to place her at 44th of 74. As for the hurdles of the same distance, Smith completed the event in 13.86 seconds, just 1.53 seconds over her sprint.
This showing by Smith was enough for 12th place, and a season best in the 100 meter hurdles.
Sixth-year and former captain Bethany Deloof wouldn’t let her successor be the only one setting season-highs this meet. Deloof finished the 400 meter in 55.70 seconds, which was good enough for 20th place, and a season best.
Deloof’s time was also good enough for 2nd place in the Atlantic 10 for the meet.
Performances like these from seasoned vets such as Smith and Deloof are just scratching the surface of what they do for this team, according to Feit-Melnick.
“What Bethany and what Trinity bring to our younger group of athletes is amazing,”
Fourth-year Hannah Birdsall joined Deloof in the 400 meter, posting a personal best score of 58.52 seconds.
Among the veteran group of Rams at the relays, it was the youngest competing Ram, first-year Lily Saul, who kept her legs churning for the longest distance this meet.
In the 1500 meter, Saul posted a time of 4:37.57, good enough for 8th place in the A-10. The final day of the meet saw two more personal best times, in just three competitions. Smith, Deloof, and Birdsall were the Rams who would return for more on the final day. In the 400 meter hurdles, Smith would post a time of 1:03.71.
Birdsall, who posted a personal best time in the 400 meter on day two, would do so again the final day.
This time around, a 2:16.19 finish in the 800 meter saw Birdsall leave the competition with two new personal bests, in just two competitions.
Deloof would round off the run of season best and personal best times, in the 200 meter.
She posted a time of 24.91 seconds, which was enough to grab the 42nd spot in a massive pool of 88 competitors.
Coach Feit-Melnick would go on to relay the difficulty of simply being invited to this competition.
“It’s stats driven, it’s based on how they did in the indoor championships”, Feit-Melnick said. “You get to go to those meets if you’re good.”
In the Raleigh Relays, this small group showcased just how good they were, and why they belonged in this prestigious invitational, according to Feit-Melnick.
Next week, the team will stay in state, as they head to Smithfield to visit Bryant for the Black and Gold Invitational on March 31.