Track and Field Sets Tone For League Championships In Ohio

UABSPORTS.COM Michael Quercia was responsible for two of the Pirates' 10 school records at the SPIRE Division I Invitational.
Michael Quercia was responsible for two of the Pirates' 10 school records at the SPIRE Division I Invitational.

Feb. 12, 2012

SPIRE Invitational Results Get Acrobat Reader

GENEVA, Ohio - East Carolina established itself as a contender in the upcoming Conference USA Indoor Championships by putting forth a solid performance at the SPIRE Division I Invitational this weekend. The Pirates set 10 school records in Ohio and captured five event titles as well as setting a number of personal and season-best marks.

"We accomplished a lot of great things this weekend and I am so proud of this team," head coach Curt Kraft said. "We set 10 school records and had many personal records and season bests. We are excited about the Conference USA Championships in two weeks. The kids are focused, hungry and ready to compete."

On the women's side, Tiffany Harris captured the 400-meter dash title by running a 54.63 to win by almost two full seconds over Natalie Morerod from Wichita State. A trio of Pirates finished in the top three spots of the 200-meter dash, as Tania Minkins, Tyshonda Hawkins and sophomore All-America Aiesha Goggins posted times of 24.14 (school record), 24.51 and 24.81.

Erin Tucker recorded a school standard in the 60-meter hurdles, clocking in at 8.53 to take third place after she finished second in the preliminary. Then, a week after breaking her own program record in the 3,000-meter run, Brittany Copland did it again by turning in a time of 9:12.11 to end up in third.

The 4x400 relay tandem of Hawkins, Minkins, Goggins and Harris, who advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships last season, produced a time of 3:39.74 to etch themselves into the school's record books and win the event against teams from Michigan State, North Carolina and Michigan. Another All-America performer, junior Tynita Butts, posted a mark of 1.80 meters in the high jump to capture third place. Then, in the long jump, Harris took third by checking in at 5.70 meters. Another third-place result was provided by Kim Kanala, who recorded a mark of 17.99 meters in the weight throw.

The 600-meter run proved to be one of the highlights of the meet for ECU as Michael Quercia and Britney Kott set two more school records with times of 1:20.22 and 1:33.28 to finish second and fifth respectively. Quercia also broke Ricardo Bell's 11-year record in the 800-meter run by running a 1:49.99 and taking 10th.

As for the men, Joseph Samuels, after finishing ninth in the prelims of the 60-meter hurdle event, rebounded to run a time of 7.82 in the finals to capture the title and contribute yet another school record to the Pirates' weekend haul.

After Stephen Hodapp and Henry Johnson produced a mark of 4.75 meters in the pole vault two weeks ago, Aaron Zakula joined them as a school-standard holder as he matched their effort and finished in 12th place. Consistent performers Dennis Aliotta and Montrell Morrow continued their strong campaigns with Aliotta topping his own program-best mark by throwing 18.06 meters in the shot put and Morrow taking the weight throw event title with a heave of 19.95 meters.

The 2012 Conference USA Indoor Championships are scheduled for Feb. 25-26 in Birmingham, Ala., with UAB hosting the event at the Birmingham CrossPlex.