March 1, 2012
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.- The Marshall University women's track and field team concluded its 2011-12 indoor season at the Conference USA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Ala., last weekend, bringing an end to a half-year that saw the Thundering Herd break several school records and improve upon its conference finish from a year ago.
The action began early for the Herd when the team traveled to the Oiler Opener at Findlay University back in December. There, junior Vanessa Jules gave early signs that she would be in record-breaking form for the indoor season with a record-besting performance in the 300m dash. Already the owner of the record, Jules downed her old mark with an improved time of 41.00 seconds. Amber Pierson and Jasia Richardson also snagged first place finishes for the Herd at the event, claiming the best scores in the 400m dash and triple jump, respectively.
After tying her own school high jump record in the Herd's next meet at the Kentucky Invitational, Jules continued ascending all the way to the C-USA Indoor Championships last weekend. While there, the Silver Springs, Md., native broke two school records en-route to claiming second place in the pentathlon. Jules finished first in the pentathlon 60m hurdles with an 8.57 time that broke Tara Lee's 1999 record of 8.58, and after winning the long jump and placing second in the high jump of the pentathlon, Jules accrued enough points to finish with a Marshall record 3791 points in the five-stage event. Overall, Jules earned 10 of Marshall's 19 total team points at the championships with eight in the pentathlon and two more in the regular 60m hurdles event.
Another junior who found success throughout the indoor season was Leslie Thomas. The Montgomery, W.Va., native posted solid performances in the distance events during the Gladestein Invitational and SPIRE Open, including a first place finish in the 5000m run at SPIRE. Thomas then built upon her regular season successes with a record breaking run in the 3000m at the C-USA Indoor Championships, where her 10:05.92 time usurped Marian Brooks' 2007 school record of 10:08.25.
Jasia Richardson and Crystal Walker also proved to be effective triple and long jumpers for the Herd throughout the season, posting impressive performances at the Oiler Opener and Akron Invitational, respectively. Richardson, a junior from Richmond, Va., managed to repeat as the third place triple jumper at the C-USA Indoor Championships for the second year running and claimed six points for the Herd's team total with a 12.52m jump. Walker, who typically placed well in the long jump, shifted gears a bit for the championships and finished in sixth place with a personal best leap of 12.21m. The Dallas, Texas, native transferred to Marshall from Stephen F. Austin State University this past summer and contributed three points to the team total in her first ever appearance at a C-USA event.
In the end, the 2011-12 indoor season saw four school records broken and 50 personal bests established. The Herd's 11th place finish at the C-USA Indoor Championships improved upon last season's 12th place finish, and with the redshirted Elaine Derricott and former NCAA Qualifier Amanda Kennedy returning to the team for the outdoor season, the Thundering Herd's outlook is positive for the upcoming spring session.
For those fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the top-performances from last weekend's C-USA Indoor Championships, the meet will be televised by the Fox Sports Network on its regional channels. For Huntington viewers, ROOT Sports will air the event on Friday at 2:00 p.m. A full schedule of the meet's airing times on other channels can be found by clicking the link below.
FSN Air Dates and Times
Watch Vanessa Jules Break the 60m Hurdles Record