April 15, 2011
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The rain had just begun to fall as the last Tulane track and field competitor left the Tom Black Track on Friday evening to conclude day one at the Sea Ray Relays in Knoxville, Tenn. Three Green Wave competitors posted top-ten finishes, while Tiffany George set a new career-best in the 200-meter dash on the opening day.
"The Sea Ray Relays is a meet that we have been targeting as one of the bigger meets on our schedule (this season)," said Tulane head coach Eric Peterson. "I was very pleased that the bad weather in the area held off for us until the 1500 (meter run), but everybody really benefitted from a very nice day of weather. This is a very good meet for or kids and (they) really demonstrated some consistency today, which is something that we really put a premium on."
The final race of the day for Tulane played host to one of the top distance runs in school history, when Rebecca Coady posted a career-best time of 4:29.54 in the 1500-meter run. The senior was the seventh runner to cross the finish line and was the fifth fastest collegian in the competition, besting her previous PR by more than three seconds. She now owns the team's top three times in the event this season and owns the top time in three of the four distance events.
"It was a big (personal best) for (Rebecca)," said Peterson. "It was about three seconds off of her previous best. She has been training very well and has been racing consistently well. I knew if she put together and executed a good race plan that it would pay off for her, and it did. She was aggressive and calm during the race, which was good to see, and it produced a lifetime best."
George, the freshman from Zachary (La.) High School, had another solid day in the lanes and collected a pair of top-ten showings. She started the afternoon with a third place overall finish in the 100-meter dash, finishing second in the first of eight competed heats, with a time of 11.72-seconds. Later in the program, George grabbed the ninth fastest time in the 200-meter dash, setting a new personal record at 24.10-seconds in near perfect conditions.
In the 400-meter hurdles, a pair of Green Wave performers turned in impressive marks, with senior Zandria Debowles placing second in the event. DeBowles was just off of her career-best time, crossing the finish line in 59.70-seconds. That showing in the first heat is just eight-tenths of a second shy of the PR that she set earlier this season at the LSU Relays. In the second of the five heats, Candice St. Etienne ran a near duplicate of her race from last weekend, crossing the finish line in a time of 62.48 seconds to place 11th overall.
"Zandria and Candice have both posted big personal records in the 400 meter hurdles," Peterson said. "It was nice to see Zandria go under the 60-second mark again this season. That is the first time in her career that she has done that and it really validates the progress that she is making. Candice feels like she can run mush faster than she is, but the consistency in her times is good to see as we move towards the conference championships."
On the men's side of things, Jordon Holtzman brought home his best time of the season in the 800-meter run to open the competition. The junior ran 1:58.24 and grabbed a 15th place finish in the race. The three competitors in the 400-meter dash all ran under 50-seconds, with Koplan Nwabuoku leading the way in a 49.37 clip. Jon Frano broke the tape in 49.64 and Christopher Arechiga covered the distance in 49.90.
"Our guys really competed hard and ran well today," Peterson said. "We really didn't have a big drop off and, even though no one ran personal bests, they showed a good consistency, like our women are, and that will continue to help our programs grow."
The Sea Ray Relays will continue on Saturday, April 16 afternoon, with five individuals competing and four different relays taking to the lanes at the Tom Black Track on the University of Tennessee campus.