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Bearcats take 4x1 at Tennessee Invite

By Winners OnlyPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 3 min read
Alicia, Jayda, Nyile & Kaira

Jayda Bushay, Nyile Facey, Kaira Granger and Alicia Thorpe teamed together to capture a 400-meter relay win at the Tennessee Invite, April 8 in Knoxville. The foursome sprinted on the wet track through mild spring weather to finish ahead of 10 0ther squads at 46.39. Middle Tennessee State was second at 47.15.

Thorpe has had a lot of success on the Tom Black Track on the campus of University of Tennessee. This year she placed second in the 400 meters at 55.98 and third in the 200 at 24.22. Last season at the Tennessee Relays held in the same location, Thorpe won the 400 at 55.80. As a freshman in 2021, Thorpe was on the winning 400-meter relay squad with her All-American former teammates Tiona Lattimore, Faith Banks and Caisja Chandler.

Bushay won the 200 meters on April 7, the opening day of the Tennessee Invite at 23.88. Facey earned a top three finish in the 400-meter hurdles. The relay win was Facey and Granger's first win as Bearcats. Facey was a Big South hurdles and relay champion during her days at High Point, prior to this season. Granger was a conference champ in the 400-meter relay of the Atlantic 10, last season during her freshman season at Dayton.

Fernandez-Sola soars to high jump victory

Indiana All-American jumper Paola Fernandez-Sola stepped her game up.

Last season, during the first weekend of April, she fought through the wind and sleet to earn a second-place finish of 6.08 in the long jump at the Tennessee Relays. Yesterday at the Tennessee Invite, held on the same track in Knoxville, she fought through moderate rain and chilly conditions to hit a winning mark of 6.49. The San Juan, Puerto Rico native dominated the competition finishing well ahead of runner-up Lynnika Vance of Middle Tennessee (6.03) and the field of 37 competitors. In fact, Fernandez-Sola could've won the competition on her second jump of 6.26 which was her third best mark of the day.

Fernandez-Sola's effort at the Tennessee Invite was her second-best collegiate mark. Her career best jump came at the Indiana Invitational when she hit a mark of 6.61 during, April 22, 2022. She went on to capture the bronze medal at the Big Ten outdoor meet before placing 14th at the NCAA Championships. During this year's indoor season, she fared better with a second place Big Ten performance and a top-nine finish at the NCAA indoor meet.

Big South champ Ash wins 400-meter hurdles

Charleston Southern's Jewel Ash took care of business on the track yesterday at the Tennessee Invite.

When the Vorhees, New Jersey native crossed the finish line during the 400-meter hurdles, winning at 57.72, she had run a sub 58-second time for the fourth time in her career. The last time Ash finished under 58 seconds was May 11, 2022, when she won the Big South championship in the event. Prior to the start of the day only 19 NCAA competitors had run faster times this season.

Ash is the back-to-back 400-meter hurdles champion of the Big South Conference. At the Tennessee Invite, in Knoxville she defeated a field of 15 competitors, which included runner-up Kyla Robinson-Hubbard of Tennessee who finished at 57.87 and Cincinnati's Nyile Facey's third place time of 1:01.40. Robinson-Hubbard earned All-American Honorable Mention All-American honors last season in the 1,600-meter relay. Her performance in the 400-meter hurdles at the Tennessee Invite was a personal best.

Facey was a former Big South foe of Ash. In the past, the two have battled over conference championships when Facey competed at High Point from 2018-2022. In 2021, Facey topped runner-up Ash in the 100-meter hurdles at the Big South Championships. Ash returned the favor by beating runner-up Facey in the 400-meter hurdles at the same meet. They also met in the 400-meter hurdles final last season in at the Big South Championships as Facey placed eighth in Ash's successful gold medal defense.


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