Different Year, Same Results

Amy Deem doesn't mind looming in the background while high-profile athletic programs like football, baseball and basketball battle for room in the trophy case at the University of Miami. But if Deem decided to a reserve little space for her girl's track and field team it would be difficult to find anybody that would object.

Deem and the Hurricanes are off to the University of George Mason for the NCAA regional qualifying round May 30-31 after winning their third consecutive Big East title and fifth in the last six seasons.

"This one is especially gratifying because we have a lot of seniors on the team, so I was thrilled for them," said Deem, who along with her staff received the Big East Coaching Staff of the Year honors for the third consecutive season earlier this week. The Hurricanes remain ranked 19th in the Trackwire top-25 poll. "It never gets old because there is nothing more satisfying than seeing all the work the girls have put in pay off. I'm extremely pleased with their work and dedication."

Deem is also thankful that Charlette Greggs is on her side.

Miami rallied from a four-point deficit on the final day of competition with victories in seven events to finish with 166 points, the most at a Big East tournament since 1984. And it was the freshman sprinter out of Miami Northwestern High that paved the way for the Hurricanes in route to eight individual and relay titles.

Greggs recorded victories in the 200 meters (23.18) and 400 meters (52.17) and ran the second leg of the 4x100-meter relay to secure the title. Greggs' time in the 200 meters set a conference record.

"I just wanted to win badly, but I thought it was going to be harder" said Greggs, who won the Class 4A 400-meters state championship as a senior at Northwestern despite battling several injuries including a torn right knee ACL. "I was a little surprised I had something left for the 400 meters but it's not something you think about. I was mentally and physically prepared to give it everything I had. I couldn't imagine not moving on."

Although there was a time many thought Greggs would not be able to move on.

Plenty of questions surrounding Greggs' inability to stay healthy surfaced during the latter part of her high school career. But despite a severely torn quadriceps muscle as a freshman and then the knee injury her junior year, Greggs never lost her star status and remained one of the most highly recruited student-athletes in the county.

With that in mind, Deem didn't waste any time in making sure that Greggs was completely heeled because she wanted Greggs to wear the Hurricanes' orange and green.

It didn't take long.

After watching her at several meets Deem offered Greggs a scholarship and the homegrown speedster accepted. Now, both coach and phenom are enjoying the benefits of Greggs' decision.

"I had a good feeling towards the end of her senior season that she was ready to explode," says Deem. "I really felt back then that she could compete at the highest level and she certainly hasn't done anything to change my mind. It didn't take long to convince me that there was nothing wrong with her."

Deem also believes that Greggs' work ethic and dedication to the sport and teammates has helped Greggs overcome any mental hurdles that may have lingered because of her injury-plagued past. Although it's her first season on the team and freshmen aren't always welcomed with open arms Deem credits Greggs with helping the Hurricanes maintain a competitive edge and considers her one of the team's unquestioned leaders.

"Charlette just believes that there is nothing she can't do. She is such a tough competitor and displays so much dedication it's unbelievable," said Deem. "I'm not surprised with what she's been able to do."

The same can be said of Deem who took over the program in 1991 when the Hurricanes only had eight scholarships available. Over a decade later, Deem is largely responsible for putting the team on the map.

"I had no idea we would be able to have so much success," said Deem. "A lot of the credit has to go to our athletic director Paul Dee. Dee has done everything possible to insure that we have everything we need to become a better program."

Greggs will have a chance to add to her blazing start at UM at the NCAA regionals May 30-31 at the University of Georgia.

"If I can stay healthy I think anything is possible," Greggs said.

Greggs will have plenty of company as 17 UM athletes will compete in 12 events with the winners advancing to the finals in Sacramento, Calif., June 1.

Sophomore sprinter Lauryn Williams, the world junior champion in the 100 meters, will be there after defending her Big East 100-meter championship with a time of 11.62. Williams placed second in the 200 meters –finishing behind Greggs- with a time of 23.30.

Senior All-American Sharianne Lawson, who is ranked No. 10 nationally in the 100 meters competition, also qualified for the next round after posting a stadium record time in the event of 3.40. Senior Patricia Pearson added her first conference title in the 800 meters with a time of 2:06.94. In the shot put, junior Adrienne Moss become the second Hurricane athlete in the last three seasons to win the outdoors conference title with a toss of 15.30 meters.

All-American Jamillah Wade, freshman All-American Dominique Darden, Wiande Moore and Kitoya Carter broke the previous record in the Big East, set last season by the Hurricanes, with a time of 3:33.38 in the 4X400 meter relay. Miami has won the event two straight years in the Big East.

Deem said that the Hurricanes are just focusing on ‘staying sharp' between now and the start of the regionals. Asked if the Hurricanes would resort to any special form of preparation for the regionals, Deem said that the Hurricanes have already done most of their work.

"It's just a matter of just staying fast and in shape," said Deem. "We have a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the teams we're going to face in the regionals because we've already seen most of the them in the regular season."

The Hurricanes men's track and field team, with a lift from several members of the football team, will also be well represented in the regionals. Freshman Terrell Walden, who earlier this season won the 60-meter indoor championship, won the 100 meters (10.67) and ran the second leg of the 4x100 relay at the Big East Championships. Walden, along with sophomores Roscoe Parrish, Kelly Jennings and Tanard Davis, won the 4x100 in a stadium record and NCAA regional qualifying time of 40.55.

Parrish, Davis, junior Sean Taylor and freshman Travarous Bain all placed in the 100-meters. Parrish finished second to Walden with a time of 10.85, while Taylor took fifth (11.01). Bain finished seventh, while Davis took eighth. Parrish will also compete in the 200 meters.

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