Eight Tulane track and field athletes will compete at the NCAA East Regionals over the weekend under the guidance of track and field director Eric Peterson
May 28, 2014
NEW ORLEANS - Eight Tulane track and field athletes will begin their path towards the NCAA National Championships over the course of the next three days as the largest contingent of Green Wave athletes in school history will head to Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville for the NCAA East Regionals.
The competition is set to begin on Thursday afternoon, and will run through Saturday evening. Live results can be followed by clicking on the `live results' link on the TulaneGreenWave.com track and field schedule page.
Redshirt freshman Daliadiz Ortiz, sophomore Lilla McMillan and men's track and field athlete Devon Breaux will kick off the competition for the Green Wave on Thursday, May 29, as they will compete in the javelin, 400 meter dash and long jump, respectively.
Senior Joanna Lapucha and freshman Mary Carson Pitts will take part in the pole vault on Friday afternoon, and redshirt junior Estefany Cruz and sophomore Tamika Brazzel will close out the meet for the Green Wave on Saturday in the triple jump alongside freshman Taylor Potts in the shot put.
Since the inception of the regional format in 2003, Tulane has never qualified as many athletes in individual events as they have in 2014.
"I'm pleased with the fact that we have more individual qualifiers for the first round of the NCAA Championships than we've had before," said Tulane track and field director Eric Peterson. "I'm excited for this particular group of athletes who have made it this far. We really think that we have some that have an opportunity to advance to the NCAA National Championships, and two of those are competing on Thursday in Daliadiz Ortiz and Devon Breaux."
Ortiz captured the Conference USA javelin Gold Medal at the C-USA Outdoor Championships during her last performance with a throw of 48.79 meters (160-1). The native of Puerto Rico has won six event titles in the nine meets she has competed in this season, and in the other three, she has placed second. The throw that qualified her for the postseason came at the Florida State Twilight meet on May 9. In Tallahassee, Ortiz launched a personal-best throw of 49.94 meters (163-10) that ranks 17th in the East Region. That throw also ranks 33rd in the NCAA this season.
Breaux, who made history last year alongside Thomas Lynch by becoming the first Tulane men to qualify for an NCAA Regional, becomes the first Green Wave male track and field athlete to compete in back-to-back regionals. Breaux punched his ticket to the postseason with a 7.45 meter (24-5.5) long jump mark at the C-USA Outdoor Championships last week, placing sixth overall. The mark was nearly two-tenths of a meter longer than his previous season high. Breaux's leap ranks 36th in the East Region.
"Tomorrow, we will know where Dali and Devon stand," mentioned Peterson. "Dali has had a fantastic redshirt freshman season. If she continues to compete the way she has, then she has an excellent shot of advancing to the finals. Devon's task is a little taller, but he has the talent and the ability to advance to the National Championships."
McMillan had an outstanding outdoor season in 2014 that included her 400 meter mark of 53.88 seconds at the LSU Alumni Gold on April 19. The Mill Valley, Calif., native placed 38th in the NCAA East Region with that time that also ranks seventh in school history. On Thursday, she will compete in what is deemed as the `first round' of the NCAA National Championships with a chance to advance to Friday's `quarterfinal.'
"Lilla needs to be one of the top three place finishers in her heat, or one of the next six fastest qualifiers to advance to Friday's quarterfinals," said Peterson. "Her task tomorrow is to place in the top three so she has an opportunity on Friday."
After the conclusion of the NCAA East (and West) Regionals, the best of the best will travel to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Outdoor Championships from June 9-14.
Fans can follow the Tulane track and field programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.
Tulane Entries for NCAA East Regionals
Women's 400 Meters
Women's Triple Jump
Women's Pole Vault
Mary Carson Pitts
Women's Shot Put
Men's Long Jump