May 30, 2014
JACKSONVILLE - One Tulane track and field senior wrapped up her career at the NCAA East Regionals on Friday in Jacksonville, while three underclassmen gianed valuable experience against some of the nation's best competition on Thursday night and Friday morning at Hodges Track.
Redshirt freshman Daliadiz Ortiz and sophomore Lilla McMillan competed in their first ever NCAA Regional Championships, while sophomore Devon Breaux and senior Joanna Lapucha made return trips. All four have wrapped up their stay in Jacksonville.
Ortiz and McMillan finished their events ranking 17th and 38th, which were the same marks as their regional rankings coming into the meet. Breaux actually gained ground, placing 33rd after coming in at 36th.
Ortiz narrowly missed out on a chance to compete at the NCAA National Championships in Eugene, Ore., next week, launching a throw of 47.49 meters (155-9) on her first throw Thursday night. However, she could not top that during her next two throws on the evening, placing placing fourth in her flight. Ortiz and Virginia's Abbey Karin actually posted identical throws of 47.49 meters in the second flight, but Karin's throw earned her a trip to the NCAA National Championships as she won the tiebreaker.
Breaux posted a leap of 7.08 meters (23-2.75). The native of Donaldsonville, La., recorded identical jumps of 7.08 meters during his first and third rounds, sandwiching a leap of 6.98 meters (22-10.75) in round two. The sophomore made history by becoming the first male Tulane track and field athlete to compete in two NCAA Regional meets, as he also qualified in the long jump last season.
Lapucha posted a leap of 3.90 meters (12-9.5), good for a tie for 24th place. She went out attempting to clear a bar that would have been a new personal best for her. Like Breaux, Lapucha competed in the NCAA East Regionals last season, making her the first Tulane pole vaulter to compete in two NCAA Regional events.
"Joanna vaulted very well," stated Tulane track and field director Eric Peterson. "She has had an exemplary career as a student-athlete. "She has been an important part of, not only the growth and development of our team and program, but she has also been an outstanding student at Tulane. I couldn't be more proud of her. She demonstrated her maturity and competitiveness today."
Freshman Mary Carson Pitts qualified for the NCAA East Regionals, but was unable to perform due to an injury sustained during practice earlier in the week.
On Saturday, the first round of the national championships will wrap up, but not before two Tulane triple jumpers will go into action. Redshirt junior Estefany Cruz and sophomore Tamika Brazzel will begin their path towards the national championships at 4pm CT.
Cruz became just the third track and field athlete to qualify for the NCAA Regionals in an individual event in three consecutive years, joining Ana Ruzevic and Gloria Asumnu. The native of Guatemala posted the east's 40th-best triple jump that came during the Tulane Team Challenge on March 29 at Tad Gormley Stadium. On that day, Cruz posted a leap of 12.69 meters (41-7.75) that was by far her season's best mark.
Fellow triple jumper Brazzel owns the east's 36th-best mark that came during the C-USA Outdoor Championships last weekend. The Oceanside, Calif., product notched a jump of 12.72 meters (41-8.75) that placed fifth on the afternoon.
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Tulane Results for Day One of the NCAA East Regionals
400 Meter Dash
38. Lilla McMillan, 54.31
Women's Javelin Throw
17. Daliadiz Ortiz, 47.49m (155-9)
Men's Long Jump
33. Devon Breaux, 7.08m (23-2.75)
Tulane Results for Day Two of the NCAA East Regionals
Women's Pole Vault
24. Joanna Lapucha, 3.90m (12-9.5)
Mary Carson Pitts, DNS