Mel Obadiah and USCB’s 4×800 men’s relay squad led the Sand Sharks with record-breaking performances at the CIU Rams Invitational on Friday and Saturday in Columbia, and Obadiah was rewarded with Sun Conference Track Athlete of the Week honors.
USCB started the second meet of the outdoor season strong, as the relay team of Christian Austin, Shamar Deacon, Sam Williams, and Obadiah shattered the 4x800m program record by an incredible four seconds with a blazing first-place time of 7:56.32, breaking a mark that stood for nearly 12 years after it was set at the 2009 Sun Conference Championships. The relay quartet then struck gold again, taking the 4x400m with a 3:21.11 and beating runner-up Truett-McConnell by nearly two seconds.
Obadiah broke another USCB record on his own, rewriting the history books in the 800m with a blistering 1:54.26 to claim a silver medal and best the former standard by nearly a whole second.
Deacon took third place in the men’s 400m, finishing with a time of 48.91s. The junior came just under a second away from topping gold medalist Sulaimane Bangura. Kadari Mitchell continued his excellent form after a stellar indoor campaign, posting a quick 100m time of 11.04s to place fifth in the event. Deacon and Mitchell put together another pair of top-six finishes in the 200m, with Deacon just edging out his teammate for fifth place by six one-hundredths of a second with a mark of 22.40.
Iyana McKeever picked up right where she left off to finish the indoor season, capturing two medals in the meet. The NAIA All-American and two-time Sun Conference Field Athlete of the Week took silver in the 100m with a standout time of 12.21, just 0.17 seconds away from winner Tamia Francis. McKeever also earned a medal in the long jump, taking the bronze with a leap of 5.58m.
Oriana Hernandez notched a fourth-place finish in the women’s 400m hurdles with a time of 1:08.91, and Jenitza Trinidad was fifth in the 800m at a mark of 2:27.24. Algeria Scott impressed in the women’s heptathlon with a fourth-place result of 2,253 points, and Carter Freeman led the Sand Sharks in the men’s decathlon with a score of 3,943 points, which was good for a fourth-place finish.
USCB will return to competition on April 3 for the Spikes Classic in Daytona Beach.
By Wes Kerr