Feb. 26, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- The Marshall University track and field team drew a close to its 2011-12 indoor season on Sunday afternoon, concluding the Conference USA Indoor Championships in eleventh place with 19 points.
After starring on day one in the pentathlon, Vanessa Jules earned the Herd more points with a seventh place finish in the finals of the 60m hurdles. Having set the school record the day before with an 8.57 time, Jules ran today’s heat in a slower 8.73 seconds, but still managed to pick up a vital two points for her Marshall team.
Perhaps the Herd’s most impressive individual showing of the day came from junior distance runner Leslie Thomas, who crushed Marian Brooks’ five-year-old 3000m school record of 10:08.25 with a career-best time of 10:05.92. Teammates Sammantha Stroker and Paige Govey also got in on the action, setting personal bests of their own in the event.
Triple jumpers Jasia Richardson and Crystal Walker were other members of the Herd who found success in their respective event, qualifying for the finals with personal best jumps of 12.52m and 12.21m.
Richardson, who medaled last season with a third place triple jump effort at the C-USA Indoors, repeated that feat with yet another impressive leap. This time, her jump of 12.52m (41-01.00) was good enough to hand Marshall six more points for its team total and gave the athlete a new personal best mark.
Walker, a transfer from Stephen F. Austin State University, used the triple jump to successfully conclude her first-ever C-USA meet, jumping a 12.21m (40-00.75) personal best leap to finish in sixth and claim a further three points for the Herd’s total.
Other members of the Herd to pick up personal bests on the day were Celia Leonard – with a 5:19.35 in the one mile – and Rachel Coaxum – who scored an 11.22m (36-09.75) leap in the triple jump.
“I felt like the triple jump was key today. Those girls came through and really helped increase our score,” said Head Coach Jeff Small. “We had several personal bests today and set another school record that helped us get the points to beat Tulane. We’re looking forward to the outdoors where we have the discus and javelin athletes coming back into play, and where we’ll be allowed to take the redshirt off Elaine Derricott. We’ll get back to training now and work hard for the upcoming outdoor season.”
Despite finishing in eleventh place, the Herd did improve upon its twelfth place finish from a season ago. This year, Tulane finished in twelfth with 16.5 points while East Carolina’s 123 took first overall.
Marshall will now regroup and refocus its efforts for the outdoor season, which is slated to begin on March 16 at the USF Bulls Invitational in Orlando, Fla.