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Merch Madness
JMU's McDonald Garners CAA Co-Field Athlete of the Week Honors
Courtesy:JMUSports.com Release:05/03/2011
Courtesy: Cathy Kushner/JMU Athletics Communications
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RICHMOND, Va., May 3, 2011 - James Madison sophomore Marissa McDonald (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin East) was honored as the Colonial Athletic Association Women's Co-Field Athlete of the Week on Tuesday after her performance at last weekend's Penn Relays.

The sophomore turned in a fifth-place finish in the Eastern competition of the long jump with a personal-best and ECAC-qualifying leap measuring 5.96 meters (19'6 3/4"). It was also the longest mark recorded by a CAA athlete this season and ranks tied for 43rd on the NCAA East Region list.

McDonald also ran a leg on JMU's 400-meter relay that finished in tenth place of the College race. The foursome, consisting of McDonald and freshmen Jordan Simmons (Plainfield, N.J./Bishop Ahr), Ashley Williams (Shillington, Pa./Governor Mifflin) and Ciarra Morris (Richmond, Va./Meadowbrook), crossed the line in 46.71 seconds. That mark surpassed the ECAC-qualifying standard and was also an improvement of .37 seconds from the team's time in the heated race.

"Marissa did a great job focusing and making good decisions while competing at the Penn Relays," Director of Track and Field Bill Walton said. "She is putting all aspects of the long jump together. The championship portion of the season will be her true test of what she has learned and how she will handle the competition."

McDonald shared the accolade with George Mason's Mandissa Marshall, who won the pole vault at the Penn Relays after clearing the bar at 4.00 meters. She ranks second in the league and tied for 18th in the East region.

On the track side, William and Mary's Elaina Balouris was named Track Athlete of the Week. She finished in sixth place in the 3,000-meter race at the Penn Relays with a time of 9:36.34, which broke the record for fastest time by a William and Mary freshman in the event.

The Dukes will travel to Richmond this Friday and Saturday for the Virginia 529 College Savings Plan CAA Track and Field Championship, which will be held at VCU's Sports Backers Stadium.
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