UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., Feb. 7, 2014 – A pair of freshmen led a strong performance by the James Madison track & field team Friday night at the Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup hosted by Penn State. Ebony Owusu-Sampah (Woodbridge, Va./C.D. Hylton) was the runner-up in the long jump, while Deana Forbes (Danville, Va./George Washington) took third in the 60-meter hurdles.
Owusu-Sampah, already an ECAC qualifier in the long jump, took second in the 28-athlete field with a leap of 5.71 meters, while her teammate, freshman Kennedy King (Hampton, Va./Phoebus), was fourth. Owusu-Sampah has finished in the top three in the event all three times she has competed this season. She also has a top-three finish in the triple jump, doing so at last weekend’s Patriot Games at George Mason.
After just missing out on the ECAC-qualifying standard last weekend, Forbes qualified for the championships with her time in the preliminaries Friday and then improved her time in the finals. She crossed the line third out of 25 runners in a personal-best 8.75 seconds, the second-fastest indoor time in JMU history. Junior Jasmine Waddell (Mount Royal. N.J./Kingsway Regional) was ninth.
Forbes has been everything head coach Ta' Frias could hope for out of a freshman athlete, continually showing improvement each week. Including preliminaries and finals, she has run the 60-meter hurdles five times this season and has set a personal-record each time. She posted a mark of 8.93 seconds in her first-ever collegiate competition, and has since dropped her time to the 8.75 she ran Friday at Penn State.
Sophomore Jenna Flickinger (Hummelstown, Pa./Lower Dauphin) paced JMU in the lone distance event of the night, taking fifth out of 13 runners in the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:31.78. Junior Rachel Hagen (Sterling, Va./Potomac Falls) finished seventh.
The Sykes & Sabock Challenge Cup wraps up competition Saturday, beginning at noon with the 2,000-meter steeplechase. The final event, the 4x400-meter relay, is scheduled for 3:25 p.m.