Feb. 28, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Tulane's track and field program got off to a hot start at the Conference USA Indoor Championships at the Birmingham CrossPlex in Birmingham, Ala., as a few of the athletes competing on the opening day posted lifetime performances on the biggest stage so far this season.
Tulane managed 11 points in just five final events on Friday, one day before a large portion of their major events will take place on Saturday morning and afternoon. The Green Wave athletes who performed on Friday well exceeded the expectations of the Tulane coach staff, as six new personal bests were set at the CrossPlex.
"The first day of competition at a conference championship is something we really look at as a work day," stated Tulane director of track and field Eric Peterson. "It's a day where certain kids are going to have the opportunity to compete in finals, but others have to compete in preliminaries. Today, the team was able to get off to a strong start and put some points on the scoreboard."
Junior Tiffany Kenney had a career day, as she scored five points for the Green Wave by coming in fourth in the pentathlon with a new career-best 3,590 points, which ranks just 45 points short of the Tulane indoor school record. The Colorado Springs, Colo., native got better as the day went along, as she finished 11th, seventh, sixth, fourth and then third in the 60 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800 meters, respectively in that order. She notched a new career-best in three of the events with a 1.59 meter (5-2.5) high jump, a 10.29 meter (33-9.25) toss in the shot put and a 2:20.56 800 meter run. Her shot put mark was nearly three-tenths of a meter longer than her previous season high, while her 800 meter time was almost three seconds faster than her previous season high.
Sophomore Jessica Adamson lived to see another day, as she won her heat and placed third overall in the preliminary round of the 800 meter run. The Toronto native posted a new personal-best time that stands as the ninth fastest time in school history with a mark of 2:13.16. She will compete in the final on Saturday.
In addition to Adamson, sophomore Lilla McMillan won her heat and placed in the top-eight to make it to the finals in her event, the 200 meter dash. The Mill Valley, Calif., native posted a new personal-best on the evening with a time of 24.28, two one-hundredths of a second faster than the time she set during the season opener at the BSC Icebreaker last December. Overall, Adamson placed fifth and will compete for points on Saturday in the finals.
"We have finalists in the 200 and 800 meter races, and that is something we haven't had in a number of years," said Peterson. "Jessica was in the third heat, and the first two heats went pretty fast. If she wasn't one of the top-two finishers in her heat, and was then hoping to qualify on time, she would have had to run a lifetime best. She knew that when she went to the starting line, and that is pretty nerve-wracking. She did everything she needed to do in a stressful and pressure-filled moment, and that has awarded her an opportunity to compete in the finals tomorrow. Lilla was just great today, too. She had a lifetime best in lane four, and she too will compete for a conference championship."
In the distance medley relay, four Green Wave runners joined forces to place fourth in the event for a total of five points by running an 11:59.49. True freshman Sara Kebede led things off, followed by senior Hilary Woods, junior Michelle Kreutzberg and sophomore Mikayla Sonneborn. While all four athletes ran strong legs, Peterson highlighted Kreutzberg's portion of the race.
"Michelle replaced Jessica Adamson on that relay, even though she was on a relay that ran a faster time in Seattle," said Peterson. "But that wasn't a championship-type situation like today was, and Michelle's split time was more than two seconds faster than she has ever run that distance. It was a big carry for us. They were all really good, but Michelle was running a middle leg that passed to the anchor leg, and she really set Mikayla up to have a strong finish to place for the team."
One Green Wave long distance runner made her season-debut on Friday evening, and her performance notched a point for the team. Junior Paige Callahan placed eighth in the 5,000 meter run with a time of 17:13.05, despite not having run in a competition since the cross country season during the fall.
"We haven't been able to get points in many years in the long distance, and Paige - along with the distance medley relay team - did just that today," mentioned Peterson.
The Green Wave will head back to the Birmingham CrossPlex on Saturday for the high jump (12pm CT), the pole vault (2pm CT), the shot put (3pm CT), the triple jump (3pm CT), the one mile (2pm CT), the 800 meter final (3:40pm CT), the 200 meter final (4pm CT) and the 4 x 400 meter relay (5:15pm CT).
"We have kids on our team right now who are holding themselves to a high standard of achievement," added Peterson. "This is starting to come through on the scoreboard. One thing I feel really good about is the number of people we have competing tomorrow, and the number of people who can potentially score for the team. We have five people in the pole vault and three people in the triple jump. We have finalists in the high jump and in the shot put. We have a 4 x 400 meter relay team who will close the day for us, and we have Mikayla (Sonneborn) who will run the mile for us."
"We have a really good opportunity to compete well as a team tomorrow, and I'm pretty confident that our athletes are going to go out and do the very best," said Peterson.
Live stats for Saturday's event can be followed by clicking on the link on the schedule page at TulaneGreenWave.com.
Fans can follow the Tulane track and field programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
Tulane Results for the Conference USA Indoor Championships
Women's 200m Dash
5. Lilla McMillan, 24.28 ^ *
Women's 800m Run
3. Jessica Adamson, 2:13.16 ^ *
Women's 5,000m Run
8. Paige Callahan, 17:13.05
--Katharine Smiley, DNF
Women's 60m Hurdles
--Dominique Hever, DNF
Women's 4,000m Distance Medley
4. Kebede, Woods, Kreutzberg, Sonneborn, 11:59.49
Women's Long Jump
14. Tamika Brazzel, 5.58m (18-3.75)
Women's Weight Throw
24. Cheyenne Swanson, 10.91m (35-9.5)
Women's Indoor Pentathlon
4. Tiffany Kenney, 3,590 points *
60 Meter Hurdles - 11th - 9.40 (828 Points)
High Jump - 7th - 1.59m (5-2.5) (724 points) *
Shot Put - 6th - 10.29m (33-9.25) (548 points) *
Long Jump - 4th - 5.41m (17-9) (674 points)
800 Meters - 3rd - 2:20.56 (816 points) *
Conference USA Indoor Championship Team Standings After Day One
1. East Carolina, 29
2. UTSA, 25
3. UAB, 24
4. Louisiana Tech, 21
5. Middle Tennessee, 18
6. FIU, 13
t-7. Tulsa, 12
t-7. Rice, 12
9. Tulane, 11
10. UTEP, 10
11. Charlotte, 9
12. Marshall, 8
13. North Texas, 3