April 12, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Following two straight weekends where the Tulane track and field travelled out west, the Greenies will stay closer to home as they compete in the South Alabama Invitational at the Jaguar Track in Mobile, Ala.
Last weekend, the Greenies went to Arizona, where they competed in the Mesa Classic on Friday and followed that up with performances in the Sun Angel Classic. The week prior to that, the squad was in California for the Cal Multis and the Stanford Invitational.
Due to the proximity of the South Alabama Invitational in reference to Tulane's campus, Tulane track and field director Eric Peterson will be able to bring all of his healthy athletes to compete. While in Mobile, the team will square off against Alabama State, Loyola (La.), North Alabama, Spring Hill, West Alabama and West Florida.
"We are now getting back to the part of our schedule where we are beginning our final phase of preparation for the Conference USA Championships," said Peterson. We are taking every athlete that is healthy and able to compete. In some cases, we are moving some people around outside of their specialty or some of our athletes are going to participate in their specialty and another event. We are really expecting a good level of improvement from as many kids as possible."
At the Stanford Invitational, Green Wave seniors Tiffanie Smith and Candice St. Etienne shot up in the Conference USA ranks for their performances in the 400 meter hurdles. After finishing one-one hundredth apart in the event last week by running 1:01.67 and 1:01.68, respectively, Smith now owns the sixth best time in C-USA in the event on the season while St. Etienne is right behind her in seventh place. Freshman Jessica Adamson is on the outside looking in with a season-best performance of 1:03.14, but she will look to advance in the standings this weekend.
Junior Briana Santiago posted a 12.03 meter (19' 5.75") leap in the triple jump at the Sun Angel Classic last week, giving her the eighth best jump in the league this season. True freshman Tamika Brazzel will look to crack the rankings in the event during her first triple jump of the outdoor season. During the indoor season, Brazzel notched a team season-best jump of 12.51 meters (41' 0.5").
Tulane holds three of the top five pole vault marks in C-USA on the season, including the conference best mark of 4.11 meters (13' 5.75") that was set by sophomore Merritt Van Meter last week at the Sun Angle Classic in only her second outdoor meet of the season. Junior Joanna Lapucha has the fourth best jump in the league, posting a 3.77 meter (12' 4.5") vault at the Mesa Classic last Friday. Sophomore Jessica Knierim sits at fifth overall in C-USA, clearing 3.76 meters (12' 4") at the LSU Relays in late March. All three, along with freshman Haley Miller, will compete this weekend.
"These are the three areas where we are strong and where we have some depth," added Peterson. We definitely want to see Jessica Adamson get back to a level of performance that she was at in high school. You can see where the Stanford Invitational performances put Candice (St. Etienne) and Tiffanie (Smith) in terms of the conference rankings. We hope that is an event where we can score heavily in during the conference meet."
Freshman Kayla Quincy jumped into the top eight in the league during her 400 meter dash performance at the Mesa Classic last week. She finished the event in 56.16 seconds, and the time between that and sixth place is only seven one hundredths of a second.
In addition to the aforementioned athletes, Tulane will send a slew of competitors out to Mobile to compete in events they have yet to compete in on the season or their careers. Freshman Lilla McMillan - who has only competed individually in the 100 and 200 meter races on the season - will take part in the 400 meter dash.
"I'm excited to see Lilla McMillan run the 400 meters for the first time in her life," said Peterson. "That is a big step up for a sprinter, and yet she has been running really good relay legs for us, so we hope she can step up in the 400 meters."
Freshman Devon Breaux will compete in the long jump, as he has since spring football ended, but he will also try his hand in the 100 meter dash alongside track and field - and football - teammate Xavier Rush. Freshman Mikayla Sonneborn - who notched the eighth best time in the conference in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the Stanford Invitational - will compete in the 800 and 1,500 meter runs this weekend.
"We are trying to broaden the team out, and trying to find areas where we can be more competitive in the conference," said Peterson of the placing of athletes in events where they have not competed. "The most important thing is for everyone in our program is to focus on team development. That is an area we need to improve in. We are not satisfied in finishing in ninth or tenth in the conference. It is time for our athletes who are capable to step forward and lead. This meet will give our athletes an opportunity to continue their own personal development, but also improve to a level that allows them to begin to look at the competition list of Conference USA to see how we are improving as a team."
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TULANE ENTRIES FOR SOUTH ALABAMA INVITATIONAL
Women's 100m Dash
Women's 200m 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 4 x 100m Relay
Tulane A (Banks,McMillan,Crute,Smith)
Women's High Jump
Women's Pole Vault
Merritt Van Meter
Women's Long Jump
Women's Triple Jump
Women's Shot Put
Women's Discus Throw
Men's 100m Dash
Men's 200m Dash
Men's 400m Dash
Men's 800m Run
Men's 1,500m Run
Men's 3,000m Run
Men's 4 x 400m Relay
Tulane A (Frano,Mouton,Haskins,Heil)
Men's High Jump
Men's Long Jump
Men's Discus Throw