Track & Field Captures First Conference Championship



February 22, 1999

NEW ORLEANS - The Tulane track and field program flexed its muscle at the 1999 Conference USA Indoor Championships last weekend in Houston, Texas, as the women's team ran off with its first-ever title and the men raced to its best finish ever.

The Green Wave women, ranked No. 23 nationally by Trackwire news service, out-pointed South Florida, 136.50-128, to earn the program's first conference championship. Tulane captured five individual titles, both relay events, and set five meet records in the process.

Leading the way for Tulane was junior Hanne Lyngstad, who earned individual titles in the mile run and the 3,000 meters. The native of Elverum, Norway, repeated as the mile champion, while shattering the C-USA meet record in the 3,000 meters. Her time of 9:34.48 was more than 10 seconds faster than the previous mark. Her 3,000-meter time was an NCAA provisionally qualifying mark as well. It was her fourth NCAA qualifying mark of the indoor season.

Freshman Katrina Gemmell captured the 800-meter dash championship and set a meet record along the way. Gemmell's time of 2:12.61 in the preliminaries set a new meet record. For her efforts, the native of Palmerston North, New Zeland, was named Indoor Freshman of the Year.

Junior Lana Garner won the 400-meter dash in a meet-record time of 54.80 to successfully defend her indoor title. The San Diego native has qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in three events this season.

Senior Nadia Smith is the Green Wave's final individual champion, winning the long jump with a mark of 19 feet, nine inches. Smith finished sixth at the 1997 NCAA Indoors in this same event.

Tulane was also able to capture both relay events in meet-record time. The Green Wave Distance Medley Relay team of Lyndie Galka, Angela Milner, Charlotte Plummer and Garner won the event in a time of 11:47.13. It was Tulane's second consecutive conference title in this event. The Tulane 4x400-meter Relay team of Quasheba Lee, Milner, Plummer, and Garner captured the team's seventh title with a winning time of 3:45.70.

Tulane head coach Ron Bazil was named the C-USA women's Coach of the Year for his efforts.

On the men's side, strong individual efforts enabled the Green Wave to post its best-ever finish. Seven Tulane men finished in second place in their respective events to help the team finish third with 94 points. Tulane trailed only Houston (163) and Southern Miss (101).

Alberto Francis (400 meters), Justin Robinson (800 meters), Amos Kipyegon (mile, 3,000 meters, 5,000 meters) and Noel Comrie (long jump) each posted season-best efforts at the championship meet.

The Tulane women have now qualified athletes in seven events for the NCAA Indoor National Championships, to be held March 5-6 in Indianapolis, Ind.

This is the second consecutive season that the Tulane women's track and field program has been ranked nationally by Trackwire. The next rankings are to be released on Feb. 24.