June 21, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa - Capping what has been one of the finest track and field seasons a Tulane freshman has ever put together, the Green Wave's Tamika Brazzel posted top-six finishes in both the long jump and the triple jump at the US Junior Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Oceanside, Calif., native recorded a triple jump of 11.94 meters (39' 2.25") at Drake Stadium on Thursday evening, followed by a 5.52 meter (18' 1.5") long jump on Friday which were both good for sixth place overall. The competition is organized by USA Track and Field, serving as an `American National Championship' for the sport. Like Brazzel, all of the athletes were of ages 16-19, comprised of the best high school seniors in the country, as well as the best collegiate freshman in the country.
There were 15 athletes entered into the junior triple jump event, while 17 competed in the long jump. The top eight make the finals, which was one of the original goals for Brazzel and her coaching staff.
"Tamika did very well," said Tulane assistant track and field coach in charge of jumps, Doug Fraley. "Our goal here was to make the finals, where they only take the top eight. In the triple jump, Tamika was seeded 11th and in the long jump she was seeded 13th. But, she made the finals in both, and finished sixth. I'm very proud of what she accomplished."
In addition to battling some of the top jumpers in the nation, Brazzel had to square off with Mother Nature during the meet.
"The runway that they put the junior women on for the long jump and triple jump was running into a severe headwind," added Fraley. "So, the marks overall were very poor. Running into a very cross headwind makes it very, very difficult for the athletes. For example, in the long jump today, there were several competitors who had jumped 20 plus feet as of late, and the winner ended up only jumping 19' 6". Conditions dictated the low marks. But the bottom line is that Tamika did really, really well, and placed high in both. She did an outstanding job."
"Tamika was very competitive under some very challenging weather conditions," stated Peterson. "It's really nice to see her go to this meet and perform above her national ranking in both events. It's a great way for her to end her freshman year."
Brazzel was a huge part of the success the Tulane track and field team had this year, starting during the indoor season. During the Conference USA Indoor Championships, Brazzel scored two points in the triple jump for the team by finishing seventh by clearing 12.08 meters (39' 5.75"). She posted the top triple jump and long jump during the indoor season by a Greenie, jumping 12.51 meters (41' 0.5") and 5.67 meters (18' 7.25"), respectively.
She carried her success into the outdoor season, scoring points in both the long jump and the triple jump during the Conference USA Outdoor Championships. Brazzel placed fourth in the triple jump with a personal best of 12.30 meters (40' 4.25") after placing sixth in the long jump with a performance of 5.91 meters (19' 4.75"). She once again led the squad during the outdoor season in the long jump with her performance during the Conference USA Outdoor Championships.
"This is obviously a significant achievement for Tamika," added Peterson. "This speaks very well for her future. Being able to participate in this level of competition will allow her to continue to grow and develop as an athlete. We are hoping for, and expecting, big things from her in the future."
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