May 18, 2008
EL PASO, Texas - The Tulane University track and field team qualified athletes for two events to the NCAA Mideast Regional - sophomore Valencia Wilson in the 400-meter dash and the 4x400-meter relay team - as the Green Wave placed 10th overall, scoring 39 team points, at the 2008 Conference USA Track and Field Championships held at Kidd Field.
Wilson finished sixth in the finals of the 400m with a time of 56.88 seconds, but her season-best and regional qualifying mark came in the preliminary round on Friday, where she ran 54.41 seconds. The 4x400-meter relay team - consisting of senior Shanon Beelendorf, sophomore Jasmine Momoh, junior Vanessa Kienast and Wilson - finished third in the conference race with a time of 3:40.76, but the mark was good enough for the team to run at the regional in two weeks.
"Valencia had a fantastic freshman season, and redshirted last year, and she has had a strong comeback," said Tulane head coach Heather Van Norman. "She is a very strong-willed runner, and a very beautiful runner. I really enjoy watching her run. She provided a very strong anchor for the 4x400 team. She ran very, very fast. Also, I am excited for the 4x400 team. We ran last year at the regional, and they qualified again this year at the last minute, at the conference championships."
The 4x100 relay team also made waves, nearly qualifying for the regional as they ran 46.60 for fifth place, and likely would have qualified except for a less-than-perfect baton exchange at the end. Beelendorf, who will run at the regional in the 400-meter hurdles, placed third in the event with a time of 1:00.80, while Kienast finished seventh with a time of 1:03.84.
Senior Aubrey Phillips placed sixth in the 5,000-meter run, while freshman Laurie Dalrymple finished 10th with a time of 17:45.93 and junior Keriann Langley ran 19:14.11 in the event. Junior Katarina Busljeta placed ninth in the discus throw with a mark of 43.62m (143 feet, 1 inch), and sophomore Nicolette Taku placed 14th in the triple jump with a mark of 12.10m (39 feet, 8.50 inches).
"I'm disappointed with how we placed overall as a team," Van Norman said. "But, the team is growing and getting better. Our conference has grown tougher, and our team is prepared to compete tougher within the conference. We have to start stepping up to the plate and not wait for the conference championships. I see hunger in the athletes' eyes, and they don't want to feel what they felt today again. The team will train hard, and come back stronger next year, whether it is in cross country or in track and field."
The Green Wave returns to action in two weeks at the NCAA Mideast Regional held in Fayetteville, Ark. All Tulane track and field news and information is available on the web at www.TulaneGreenWave.com.
10. TEAM = 39 points
400 METER DASH
6. Valencia Wilson, 56.88 [3 points]
4X100 METER RELAY
5. Tulane, 46.60 [5 pts]
Rosemond, Momoh, Lobbins, Kizzee
4X400 METER RELAY
3. Tulane, 3:40.76 [6 pts.]
Beelendorf, Momoh, Kienast, Wilson
9. Katarina Busljeta, 43.62m (143-01)
14. Nicolette Taku, 12.20m (39-08.50)