Feb. 26, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- Vanessa Jules of the Marshall University track and field team kicked the 2012 Conference USA Indoor Championships off in proper fashion on Saturday morning, breaking two school records as she took second place in the women’s pentathlon.
The junior from Silver Springs, Md., wasted no time in getting the Thundering Herd off to a flying start, breaking Tara Lee’s 60m hurdles record of 8.58 with an improved time of 8.57. Aside from breaking the 12-year-old school record and setting a new personal best, Jules’ mark also put her in first place with 1002 points after the pentathlon’s opening heat.
Up next for Jules was the pentathlon high jump event, where she managed to tie for second place with a highest jump of 1.72m (5-07.75). The leap earned her 879 more valuable points, and kept her in sole command of first place in the overall event.
Following a score of 9.30 in the shot put that saw her claim just 484 points and fall to second place behind Houston’s Megan Frausto, Jules came out in the long jump event and scored a personal best 5.68m leap on her final jump to retake first place with 753 more points.
With just the 800m to go, Jules was ahead of Frausto by a meager four points, but the Houston athlete outpaced the Herdswoman in the four-lap run to take first overall. Jules still finished strong, though, ending the 800m in eighth place to earn 673 more points for her total.
In the end, Vanessa’s 3791 points were second only to Frausto’s 3931, and were good enough to usurp teammate Elaine Derricott’s Marshall indoor pentathlon record of 3710 that she set last year. Derricott, a junior who transferred from Radford two seasons ago, redshirted for the indoor season and did not participate in this year’s conference meet.
Jules’ second place finish in the pentathlon also earned the Herd a vital eight points in the overall team scores to leave the squad tied with Tulsa in tenth place after day one action. Other members of the Marshall squad came close to scoring for the team as well, and none closer than senior Elizabeth Barnhart, who broke her prior personal best of 16.27m (53-04.50) on her first two tosses of the weight throw event.
The Galloway, Ohio, native threw for distances of 16.35m and 16.42m on her first two attempts to finish eleventh in the field of 23 competitors, just missing out on the eighth place scoring mark of 16.89m.
Junior Amber Pierson also set a personal best on the afternoon, breaking her old mark of 5.45m in the long jump with a 5.59m leap on her first attempt.
It was then Jules who returned to the scene for Marshall one last time on the day, narrowly qualifying for Sunday’s 60m hurdles with an eighth place time of 8.58 seconds. She will undergo the final heat tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., while her teammates will also be competing in the shot put (12:00 p.m.), triple jump (3:00 p.m.), high jump (3:30 p.m.), 1 mile run (2:35 p.m.), 3000m run (4:05 p.m.), and 4x400m relay (5:00 p.m.) to draw the championship event to a close.
“It was a fantastic day by Vanessa Jules setting two school records in the 60m hurdles and the indoor pentathlon,” said Head Coach Jeff Small. “She also made the finals in the 60m hurdles, and all of those are fantastic achievements on her part. We took some lumps in other areas, but I feel like our girls gave it one-hundred percent and we’re looking forward to even better things tomorrow.”
Day One Results
Day Two Heats