Senior Tiffanie Smith is one of many Green Wave track and field members who will compete in relays this weekend
April 26, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - With the Conference USA Outdoor Championships just two weeks away, the Tulane track and field program will head to Mobile, Ala., on Saturday to compete in the Samford Multi and Invitational meet at the Samford University Track and Field and Soccer Complex in order to work on their final tweaks before one of the biggest meets of the year.
The entire men's program will make the trip, and most of the women will go as well. However, Tulane director of track and field Eric Peterson and his staff will keep a few members of the women's squad at home to rest.
"We are leaving behind a couple of kids who we feel need a physical break," said Peterson. "This is our final week of competition before the Conference USA Championships, and we feel good about the progress that the team has made up to this point in time. We are getting into the period of the season where kids are beginning to peak, so our expectations for good performances are high. There won't be anything out of the ordinary here, as we are putting the kids in their specialist events in preparation for the postseason. We hope that this will be a positive sendoff as we head into the postseason."
The one thing the Greenies are still putting together are the relay squads. Both the men's and the women's teams will compete in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400. However, Tulane will put two men's and two women's 4 x 400 meter relay squads on the track this weekend in order to analyze as many runners as possible to determine the best grouping for the conference championships. The pool of athletes to compete in the event this weekend for the women are seniors Candice St. Etienne, Tiffanie Smith, Jamie Riles and Jerica Banks, junior Jerica Woods, sophomore Michelle Kreutzberg and freshmen Jessica Adamson, Kayla Quincy and Lilla McMillan. The men's pool will consist of seniors Albert Williams, Jon Frano and Jonathan Heil, sophomores Justyn Shackleford, Peter Haskins and Xavier Rush and freshmen John Mouton and Adam Yohanan.
"The relays are very good scoring opportunities for our both the men and women," stated Peterson. "At this final competition, the performance of these kids in this meet will go a long way in determining who will compete during the conference championships. We are going to give a lot of our kids the chance to run and each of them will have a fair and equal chance to go out and earn a spot."
On the season, the quartet of Williams, Frano, Shackleford and Mouton have the top time in the 4 x 400 meter relay as they notched a time of 3:17.08 at the LSU Alumni Gold meet. The women's top grouping - St. Etienne, Smith, McMillan and Quincy - posted a time of 3:44.01 at the Stanford Invitational.
Sophomore Tiffany Kenney will get a lot of work in, as she will compete in the 100 meter hurdles, high jump, long jump and the javelin. She will compete in the heptathlon - which includes the four aforementioned events along with the shot put, 200 meter dash and the 800 meter run - during the C-USA Championships in two weeks. During the C-USA Indoor Championships, Kenney was crucial for the women's team, as she scored four points for the squad after a fifth place finish in the pentathlon.
"Tiffany will do four events which kind of simulates the first day of action at the conference meet," said Peterson. "She obviously came off a strong indoor season, and she has continued to do very well during the outdoor season, as well. We are looking forward to finalizing her preparation for the conference meet."
Freshman Tamika Brazzel will brush up on her triple jumping skills, as she will compete in that event for just the second time during the outdoor season. She will also compete in the long jump, where she currently sits at fifth overall in the league with a leap of 5.96 meters (19' 6.75") that she notched at the Mesa Classic on April 5.
"Tamika hasn't done both the long jump and the triple jump on the same day in quite a while, so this will be a good test for her," said Peterson.
The men's squad will compete one final time before they begin training for their first championship of the season, and there are a slew of top performers in the league on Tulane's team. Senior Jon Frano has the sixth best time in the 400 meter dash in the league with a time of 48.00 seconds. Senior Brian Lozes and sophomore Mark Manion are seventh and eighth, respectively, in C-USA in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. Lozes set his personal best time of 9:50.03 at the LSU Alumni Gold meet last weekend, while Manion notched a time of 9:56.34 at the Stanford Invitational, also a personal best. Sophomore Justyn Shackleford's time of 54.26 in the 400 meter hurdles is good for the sixth best time in the league on the season.
In the jumps, senior Max Yanker and sophomore Devon Breaux are third and fourth, respectively, in the high jump in C-USA. Yanker's 2.06 meters (6'9") leap was set during the first week of the outdoor season at the Tulane Team Challenge, while Breaux - who came onto the scene after spring football ended - posted a jump of 2.04 meters (6' 8.25") in his lone attempt on the season at the South Alabama Invitational. While Yanker will high jump this weekend, Breaux will only compete in the long jump this weekend in the hopes to better his longest jump of 7.10 meters (23' 3.5"), which is good for 11th place overall in the league.
On the field, Tulane sophomore Thomas Lynch will throw the discus this weekend, as he has done all season long. Lynch holds the second best throw in the conference on the year, tossing 51.81 meters (170' 0") during the Stanford Invitational.
"The men's program, relatively speaking, has grown a lot. We have great senior leadership in the program in Jon Frano, Max Yanker and Brian Lozes. We have a lot of other guys who have a year or two of competitive experience under their belts. And on top of that, we have the football players who have contributed a lot to the growth and development of our team. The attitude on the men's team is great. Their energy is really high, and they are working very hard. They are very committed to improving and helping this program grow, and we look forward to keep that going with them."
Next weekend, the entire Green Wave track and field program will stay home and train instead of competing at a meet. It will mark just the first time on the season that no member of the men's squad will compete over the weekend, and the second time on the season the women will not compete. During the third weekend of the season, only the men's team competed at the Louisiana Classics in Lafayette, La.
"It's really standard to not compete during the week before the conference meet," added Peterson. We'll instead use the time off to put in a nice, long training block. The Conference USA Championships start on Thursday and Friday for the multi event kids, so that would have been a short week had we competed."
You can follow the Tulane track and field programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
TULANE ENTRIES FOR SAMFORD INVITATIONAL
Women's 200m Dash
Women's 400m Dash
Women's 100m Hurdles
Women's 400m Hurdles
Candice St. Etienne
Women's 3,000m Steeplechase
Women's 4 x 100m Relay
Tulane A (McMillan,Smith,Riles,Banks)
Women's 4 x 400m Relay
Tulane A (McMillan,Smith,Riles,Quincy)
Tulane B (St. Etienne,Banks,Woods,Adamson,Kreutzberg)
Women's High Jump
Women's Pole Vault
Merritt Van Meter
Women's Long Jump
Women's Triple Jump
Women's Discus Throw
Men's 100m Dash
Men's 400m Dash
Men's 800m Run
Men's 3,000m Run
Men's 400m Hurdles
Men's 3,000m Steeplechase
Men's 4 x 100m Relay
Tulane A (Williams,Rush,Shackleford,Breaux)
Men's 4 x 400m Relay
Tulane A (Williams,Shackleford,Frano,Mouton)
Tulane B (Rush,Heil,Haskins,Yohanan)
Men's High Jump
Men's Long Jump
Men's Discus Throw