Feb. 13, 2014
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - For the first time this season, the Green Wave track and field program will send split squads to two different meets on the same weekend, as 16 athletes will head to the Birmingham CrossPlex for the Southern Miss Cupid Classic in Birmingham, Ala. on Friday while five runners will travel to Seattle for the Husky Classic at the Dempsey Indoor Track Arena on Friday and Saturday.
Live results can be followed by clicking on the links attached to each meet on the track and field schedule page on TulaneGreenWave.com.
The Green Wave sent their largest contingent of athletes so far this season to the Samford Multi and Invitational meet last weekend in Birmingham, and the team came away with some impressive results. The athletes will look to build on their performances from last weekend, but they will do so in two different venues at opposite ends of the country.
"This is an interesting weekend in collegiate indoor track and field," stated the director of Tulane track and field Eric Peterson. "We are just two weeks out from the Conference USA Championships and everybody is really trying to get sharp and finish their preparation for the championship portion of the season."
Each meet provides specific opportunities to those who are competing, which is why Peterson and his staff will be splitting the team for the weekend.
"The athletes who are going to Birmingham will be getting the level of challenge that they need by competing in the same venue that our championship meet will be in just a few weeks," said Peterson. "Our middle and long distance runners have already competed there a couple of times (which is why they are going to the Husky Classic)."
A majority of the weekends athletes will travel a few hours east to Birmingham. Conference USA leaders Lilla McMillan (200 meter dash) and Merritt Van Meter (pole vault) will take part in their respective events at the Cupid Classic. McMillan ran the 200 meter dash in 24.79 seconds last weekend in Birmingham, just six tenths of a second off her personal best time.
Pole vaulters Jessica Knierim, Joanna Lapucha, Mary Carson Pitts and Emma Staisloff will also compete at the Cupid Classic Knierim and Lapucha are tied at fifth in the league standings with identical jumps of 3.72 meters (12-2.5) from the Cherry and Silver Invitational, while Pitts posted her new personal best last weekend with a jump of 3.70 meters (12-1.5), good enough for seventh in C-USA.
The strong trio of Tulane triple jumpers in Estefany Cruz, Briana Santiago and Tamika Brazzel will also take part in Friday's meet. The three rank fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, in the league standings in the event this season. Santiago is coming off a career-best triple jump of 12.27 meters (40-3.25), set at the Samford Multis and Invitational last weekend.
"The jumping area of our team has kind of become the anchor of our program," said Peterson. "We have high expectations for strong performance in the pole vault and the triple jump. Right now, it even looks like Tamika could become a contender for the long jump title, as well. Their success is very important to the success of our team. We are going to hope for continued growth from all of them."
The Pacific Northwest will feature five Tulane track athletes over the weekend, and the meet is quite conducive to their specialties.
"The Husky Classic has, in recent years, grown to become arguably the best distance running meet in the country during the indoor season," mentioned Peterson. "Because we are far enough along in the season, our athletes are in much better shape (than the beginning), and they are ready for this challenge. It's a great meet, and it's going to give our athletes the opportunity to gain some national exposure against some of the top distance runners in the country."
Four of the Husky Classic participants - freshman Sara Kebede, senior Hilary Woods and sophomore Jessica Adamson and Mikayla Sonneborn - will compete in the 4,000 meter distance medley. The quartet has competed in the event on one other occasion this season, posting a time of 12:31.60 at the UAB Blazer Indoor Invitational on Jan. 11.
The following day, the four will compete in their specialty events. Adamson, Kebede and junior Michelle Kreutzberg will take part in the 800 meter run, while Woods will run in the 400 meter dash and Sonneborn will take part in the one mile. Last weekend at the Samford Multis and Invitational, all three 800 meter runners notched new personal bests, including Adamson's run of 2:14.78, which sits as the ninth best time in the league on the season.
"We are working on trying to figure out how we can maximize ourselves at the Conference USA Championships," added Peterson. "If they continue to improve like they did last week, it's going to make sense to have them in the individual event, as well as the distance medley. But this weekend will really simulate the championship schedule in that they will run the distance medley relay on Friday followed by their individual events on Saturday."
Sonneborn turned in a solid time in the one mile last weekend, as well, as she finished the event in 5:01.57. The mark is good for the ninth best time in Tulane indoor history.
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Tulane Entries for Southern Miss Cupid Classic
Women's 200m Dash
Women's 800m Run
Women's 60m Hurdles
Women's High Jump
Women's Pole Vault
Mary Carson Pitts
Merritt Van Meter
Women's Long Jump
Women's Triple Jump
Women's Shot Put
Women's Weight Throw
Tulane Entries for Husky Classic
Women's 400m Dash
Women's 800m Run
Women's 1 Mile Run
Women's 4,000m Distance Medley
Tulane A (Kebede,Woods,Adamson,Sonneborn)