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COLUMBIA, S.C. (February 8, 2020) – Philadelphia natives Jessika Gbai and Dasia Wilson led the way for Howard University Women’s Track & Field at the South Carolina Invitational with record-setting performances. The two-day event (Feb. 7-8) saw tremendous efforts across the board.
“Our women really put on a show,” said Howard Director of Track & Field David Oliver. “Everyone who touched the track ran a new personal best. We didn’t take home any individual wins, but the exposure to this type of environment a few weeks out from the [Mid-Eastern Athletic] conference championships is invaluable. Things are definitely trending upwards.”
Gbai and Wilson reset their own school records in their respective events. Gbai broke the women’s 200-meter dash with a 24.14 time while Wilson shattered the 800-meter run (2:10.09), a mark she set a week ago.
“She’s having a great freshman campaign,” Director Oliver on Wilson. “Her performance [in the 800-meter run] ranks No. 2 in the MEAC this season [and] she also qualified for the 400-meter dash.”
Other notable qualifiers included seniors Oluchi Ike (Upper Marlboro, Md.) and Uchechi Onuoha (Yardley, Pa.) advancing to Landover in the women’s 200-meter dash, clocking in at 25.10 and 25.18, respectively.
Friday (Feb. 7), Ike (55.18), junior Ozioma Scott (Georgetown, Guyana/56.16) and sophomore Jessica Wright (Durham, N.C./56.25) all performed well in the women’s 400-meter dash, each placing top 10 in the conference.
The weekend wrapped up with the 4×400 relay where HU had a pair of teams finish third and fifth, respectively, a dramatic improvement in recent outings.
“The highlight for us this weekend was definitely the 4×400 relay,” Director Oliver expressed. “Last year, we struggled to break 3:55 indoors. [But] today, we had teams go 3:41 and 3:43. It always feels great when you have a 4×4 [team] that can put on a show [and] we now have eight women who we can rely upon to do a job.”
The team of Gbai, Ike, Scott and Wright ran a third-place time of 3:41.15 while Onuoha, Wilson, junior Ameenah Saalih (Willingboro, N.J.) and newcomer De’ja Dade (Dallas) took fifth overall, producing a 3:43.38 mark.
“This promotes a very healthy inter squad competition for the spots,” Director Oliver added. “Hopefully that can push our relay [team] closer to the NCAA final rounds later this summer.”
To view results from the 2020 South Carolina Invitational, please click here.
On Feb. 14-15, HU travels to Lynchburg, Va., for the Darius Dixon Invitational, hosted by Liberty. The final tune-up before championship season.
“With the [Mid-Eastern Athletic] conference meet at the end of this month, we should see a marked improvement over previous editions,” Director Oliver ended. “We’re really looking forward to it.”
For more information, visit the Bison Athletics website at www.HUBison.com.
This story and photo courtesy of Howard University Athletics)