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Herd Sets High Standards at Black and Gold Challenge

Mortakis finished first in the 5000m

March 18, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla.- In its first meet of the 2012 outdoor season, the Marshall University track and field team raised expectations for the year with a strong performance at UCF’s Black and Gold Challenge on Saturday afternoon.

Several Marshall athletes achieved personal bests on a day highlighted by Amanda Kennedy’s record breaking performance in the javelin throw. The junior from Bentleyville, Pa., already owned the school record mark of 142-5 but threw for a distance of 145-02 to establish the new standard.

Junior high jumper Vanessa Jules was also in good form, placing first in the event with a leap of 1.72m. Her respective marks of 14.05 and 25.05 in the 200m dash and 100m hurdles were also impressive, as she established personal bests in both.

Amber Pierson, Loren Dyer, Rachel Coaxum, and Elaine Derricott also recorded personal bests at the meet, and junior Kelley Mortakis placed first in the 5000m with a time of 18:49.76.

“The meet went really well,” said Marshall assistant Willie Johnson. “Overall the girls did a wonderful job of kicking-off the outdoor season.”

Head Coach Jeff Small also added his praises, saying “This was a good start to our spring trip. We look forward to the next week of training in great weather and outstanding facilities that will prepare us for the Conference USA outdoors later in the season.”

Indeed, the Thundering Herd will remain in Orlando over the spring break week as it prepares for its next meet, a full-fledged, two day event at UCF that is set to begin on Friday.