March 21, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Two different meets this weekend will feature Tulane track and field athletes as the squad will split to compete in both the LSU Relays in Baton Rouge, La., on Friday and Saturday and the John Mitchell Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
A majority of both the men's and women's team will head up I-10 to Baton Rouge while two discus throwers will head east to Alabama.
"We look at the LSU Relays as a continuation of the way our March has been, which is a gradual build up to higher and higher competition," said Tulane director of track and field Eric Peterson. "LSU is a great venue, and obviously they have a very strong team. But during this time of the year, there are a lot of schools that are on spring break, so this meet will draw a lot of schools from out of the state of Louisiana. It's a natural progression of exposing our team to higher levels of competition."
On the women's side at LSU, the Greenies will compete in 13 events, highlighted by junior Joanna Lapucha, sophomore Jessica Knierim and freshman Jill Doyle in the pole vault, sophomore Estefany Cruz and freshman Tamika Brazzel in the long jump, junior Melanie Mainor in the high jump and freshman Mikayla Sonneborn in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.
Knierim set a new outdoor personal best during the Tulane Team Challenge on March 2 when she notched a jump of 3.66 meters (12' 0"). Lapucha also competed in that meet, notching an identical score as her teammate, and Doyle has yet to compete in the event on the season.
Cruz - who participated in the NCAA East Regional in the triple jump during last year's outdoor season - will compete in the long jump this weekend. Earlier this year, she posted a jump of 5.29 (17' 4.25") in the event at the Tulane Team Challenge. Brazzel holds the team's high on the season, posting a leap of 5.69 meters (18' 8") at the Tulane Team Challenge.
Mainor is coming off an indoor season in which she notched the third highest high jump in Tulane history. She has competed in the event outdoors only once this year, clearing a height of 1.57 meters (5' 1.75").
Sonneborn has yet to compete in the 3,000 meter steeplechase in her career, but got some practice during the Tulane Team Challenge. There, she participated in the unorthodox 2,000 meter steeplechase, and finished in a time of 9:28.04, winning the event title.
"We have athletes who are strong and capable in events that we don't compete in during the indoor season, like the steeplechase," added Peterson. "I'm excited to have such a young athlete like Mikayla ask to do this event. It's an event that not a lot of distance runners take to, but she has a natural affinity to it. I think she is going to be good in this event for us moving forward."
The women's team will also field three relay teams to compete in the 4 x 100 meter relay, 4 x 400 meter relay and the 1,600 meter sprint medley.
The men will compete in 11 events at LSU, with sophomore Geoffery Zelek in the 5,000 meter run, senior Albert Williams and sophomore Xavier Rush in the 100 meter dash, senior Brian Lozes and freshman Jack White in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, sophomore Justyn Shackleford in the 400 meter hurdles and senior Max Yanker in the high jump.
Yanker notched the fourth best high jump in school history at the Tulane Team Challenge when he cleared 2.06 meters (6' 9"). He also competed in the event at the Bob Hayes Cowboy Relays at McNeese State two weeks ago.
Shackleford and Rush are coming off their first competition of the season last weekend after spending the spring with the Tulane football team. Rush posted a 11.11 second finish in the Louisiana Classics in the 100 meter dash, and Shackleford finished the 400 meter hurdles in a time of 55.52. Williams - a former Green Wave football player - notched a personal best in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.05 in the 100 meter dash last weekend.
Zelek nearly eclipsed his personal best time in the 5,000 meter run at the Louisiana Classics when he finished in 16:31.05, just over four seconds shy of his career best.
"We finished the indoor season by moving into a very heavy training cycle, so we aren't looking for lifetime bests at this point in time," stated Peterson. "What we are looking for are strong, competitive efforts from all of our athletes."
In Alabama, Tulane throws coach Gary England will take freshman Cheyenne Swanson and sophomore Thomas Lynch to compete in the discus. They will be competing at the newly renovated Sam Bailey Track and Field Stadium situated on the University of Alabama's campus.
"As Alabama christens their renovated track and field facility, they have invited former champions of theirs to honor," said Peterson. "This is an opportunity for Gary to participate in the ceremony, but it is also a great chance for Thomas and Cheyenne to be exposed to good competition in Tuscaloosa."
Lynch set the school discus record at the Bob Hayes Cowboy Relays on March 9, with a throw of 50.60 meters (166' 0"). The Washington D.C., native competed in two other events on the season, as well. In just her first collegiate meet, Swanson notched the eighth best throw in school history in the discus with a throw of 34.30 meters (112' 6").
England was a the 1977 shot put NCAA National Champion during his tenure as a member of the Crimson Tide track and field program.
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TULANE ENTRIES FOR THE LSU RELAYS
Women's 100m Dash
Women's 400m Dash
Women's 800m Run
Women's 1,500m Run
Women's 100m High Hurdles
Women's 400m Intermediate Hurdles
Candice St. Etienne
Women's 3,000m Steeplechase
Women's 4 x 100m Relay
Women's 4 x 400m Relay
Tulane (Woods,St. Etienne,Riles,Smith)
Women's 1,600m Sprint Medley
Women's High Jump
Women's Pole Vault
Women's Long Jump
Men's 100m Dash
Men's 400m Dash
Men's 800m Run
Men's 1,500m Run
Men's 5,000m Run
Men's 400m Intermediate Hurdles
Men's 3,000m Steeplechase
Men's 4 x 100m Relay
Men's 4 x 400m Relay
Men's 1,600m Sprint Medley
Men's High Jump
TULANE ENTRIES FOR JOHN MITCHELL ALABAMA RELAYS
Women's Discus Throw
Men's Discus Throw