Track and Field to Host First Outdoor Meet of Season at Tad Gormley on Saturday
Feb. 28, 2013
NEW ORLEANS - Tulane's track and field program will open up their outdoor season on Saturday when they host the Tulane Team Challenge at Tad Gormley Stadium in City Park.
Saturday's meet marks the first outdoor meet of the season for the women's track and field team, and it will also be the first competition of any kind for the men's track and field team since last spring's outdoor season. Tulane does not field an indoor men's track and field squad.
Tulane will square off against local schools Dillard, Xavier, Southeastern Louisiana, New Orleans and Loyola.
"The great thing about hosting a meet is that there is going to be a place on the roster for everyone who is healthy to have an opportunity to compete, and in some cases, compete in multiple events, which doesn't normally happen," said Tulane director of track and field Eric Peterson. "We are excited to be hosting a meet, which I think is really important for a program. This meet will provide a competitive opportunity to us, as well as the other programs that will compete."
A majority of Tulane's roster will take part in the meet this weekend. There will be a lot of familiar faces competing in familiar events after wrapping up their indoor seasons. Kayla Quincy, Candice St. Etienne, Jerica Woods and Tiffanie Smith will all be running in the 400 meter dash. Sophomore Paige Callahan will compete in the 1,500 meter race after notching the top time in school history for the indoor season during the 3,000 meter event. Junior Melanie Mainor will be taking part in the high jump after scoring team points during the Conference USA Championships last week, and a slew of pole vaulters - Jill Doyle, Jessica Knierim, Joanna Lapucha and Haley Miller - will all look to build upon their indoor seasons.
At the same time, there will be some athletes competing in some new events. Freshman Jessica Adamson will compete in the 400 meter hurdles, which was her specialty in high school in Toronto. Fellow freshman Mikayla Sonneborn will take part in the 2,000 meter steeplechase.
In addition to this, two freshman will be making their collegiate debuts this weekend, as freshman Daliadiz Ortiz will compete in the javelin and freshman Cheyenne Swanson will take part in the discus throw.
"Daliadiz is an exceptional javelin thrower, and I know she is very excited to go out and throw and start her collegiate career," added Peterson.
While the women are competing for the eighth straight week, the men will be making their season debut on Saturday.
Sophomore Mark Manion will be competing in a few distance events this weekend after coming off a stellar cross country season, where he was named to the Louisiana Sports Writers Association All-Louisiana Cross Country squad. Senior Max Yanker, who had the eighth best high jump in Conference USA last season, will be back to better his personal high of 2.02 meters (6-7.5). Senior Jon Frano is returning to compete in the 400 meter dash.
"This is an icebreaker type of situation for us, especially for the men's program, because they've been waiting a long time to compete," said Peterson.
The women's indoor squad competed in the Conference USA Championships last week in Birmingham, Ala. While a majority of the team will kick off their outdoor season this weekend, sophomore pole vaulter Merritt Van Meter will take part in another indoor meet - LSU's Last Chance Qualifier - in hopes of solidifying her position before the Indoor NCAA Championships next weekend in Fayetteville, Ark.
"Merritt has had such a good indoor season, but unfortunately, the conference meet didn't go as well as she had hoped or planned for," stated Peterson. "She went into it hoping to continue to improve. That's really been a theme we've been hanging on, program wide, for as long as I've been here. The reason for her to go and compete in the LSU Last Chance Qualifier is two-fold. She will go to regain her rhythm and her competitive feel and she will go to increase her chances to be included in that group that is selected for the NCAA Championships."
Van Meter currently sits tied for 14th in the nation with a jump of 4.23 meters (13-10.5). The NCAA Indoor Championships takes the top 16 performers in each event.
The Tulane Team Challenge will end a day that is full of events at City Park for Tulane's athletic department, with the fifth annual Tulane 5K taking place in the morning prior to the football team's spring scrimmage.
You can follow the Tulane track and field programs on Twitter (@GreenWaveXCTF) or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TulaneXCTF.