Track and Field Team Brings Home 27 Top-10 Finishes

track athletes running on outdoor track

The Keydet track and field teams earned 27 top-10 finishes at the Colonial Relays April 2-3, 2021. Highlights include Gavin Jenkins ’22 winning the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase and qualifying for the IC4A Championships, Ariana Ruffin ’21 placing second in the 100-meter with an ECAC-qualifying time, and the women’s 4x400 team of Autumn Parson ’22, Ruffin, Marissa Linkous ’22, and Ahliyah Williams ’22 breaking the school record by five seconds.—Photo by Brian McWalters Road Win Photos, courtesy VMI Keydets.

The VMI track and field teams brought home 27 top-10 finishes from their early April trip to Williamsburg. The teams competed at the 2021 Colonial Relays hosted by William & Mary.

Day One, April 2
Gavin Jenkins ’22 won the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a lifetime-best time of 9:07.38, which also qualifies him for the IC4A Championships in May. Walt Kitson ’21 was close behind in 9:50.34 for seventh place. Johnnie Walker ’22 won the men’s 400-meter dash in 49.46 seconds, just ahead of UMass Lowell’s Kashief Bogannam in 49.54.

Women’s sprinter Ariana Ruffin ’21 placed second in the 100-meter dash with an ECAC-qualifying time of 12.06 seconds, off by just three-hundredths of a second to W&M’s Amaya Johnson. Freshman Keyandre Midgett, the SoCon’s male indoor season freshman of the year, placed second in the long jump at 6.64 meters (21’9.5”). He went on to place fourth in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.30 seconds.

“I was very happy with the meet today,” said Darrin Webb, VMI director of track and field. “There were some tough conditions, but everyone faced the same thing. We had multiple wins, top-five, and top-10 finishes. Overall, it was a very good step toward preparation for the SoCon Championships at the end of the month. We have work to do, but today was a good step in that preparation. I expect better conditions tomorrow and the team to take another step forward.”

Anna Armfield ’21 and Sara Belamarich ’22 earned personal records in their respective 5K finish times. Armfield placed 12th in the field in 18:07.78, while Belamarich came in 18th overall in 18:37.59. Newcomer Ty Wesenyak ’23 placed fourth in the men’s javelin with a distance of 45.90 meters (150’7”). In the women’s shot put, Sarah Leckman ’21 arrived in fourth overall at 12.93 meters (42’5.25”).

Day Two, April 3
The VMI women’s 4×4 team highlighted Day Two of the Colonial Relays for the Keydets as the foursome of Autumn Parson ’22, Ariana Ruffin ’21, Marissa Linkous ’22, and Ahliyah Williams ’22 set a school-record time of 3:53.11 and earned second place. The group broke the record by nearly five seconds as the prior record-holding team of Brigitta (Hendren) Borinstein ’19, Christina Hill ’18, Julianne Knoblett ’20, and Julia Logan ’18 held a time of 3:58.17 from the 2018 season.

“I can’t say more about the women’s 4×4 breaking the old school record by over five seconds today. [It] was an outstanding performance by all of them, but I look for this record to be broken again this year. There were several good performances today, but in addition to the women’s 4×4 I really thought the 800 group, women’s pole vault, [and] women’s and men’s discus stood out to me,” said Webb.

“We are continuing both as a team and as individuals moving up the SoCon ranking list. We need to continue to train and get a few key individuals fully healthy, and keep improving and this team will be ready to go as we move into the second half of the season and our championships.”

Jenna Kirkland ’24 came in sixth place in the discus with a distance of 32.4 meters, or 106’3”. In the men’s triple jump, Jayden Napier ’23 placed second overall with a distance of 12.96 meters (42’6.25”). Robert Jones ’24 placed fourth overall with a jump of 12.51 meters (41’01/2”). Men’s thrower Solomon Ghosh ’22 came in fifth place in the discus throw by tossing it 45.11 meters (148’0’). He was named Southern Conference Men’s Field Athlete of the Month April 5.

Full results of the Colonial Relays are available here.

The Keydets competed next at the George Mason Invitational in Fairfax, Virginia, April 11. There, Jenkins won the 3,000m steeplechase in 8:59.54—the 17th best time in the NCAA East Region. Ruffin placed third in the 200m and Jordin Poindexter ’22 was second in the 100m. Poindexter’s time currently leads the Southern Conference. For more results from this meet, click here.

Upcoming meets include the James Madison Invitational in Harrisonburg, Virginia, April 17; the Aggie Classic in Greensboro, North Carolina, April 24; the Spring Term Kick Off in Lexington, April 24; and the Southern Conference Championship May 1-2 in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published at, where you can find updated schedules, results, articles, and more.