Montrell Morrow displays his gold medal he received for winning the league title in the weight throw
Feb. 25, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - East Carolina produced a solid start Saturday at the 2012 Conference USA Indoor Championships inside the Birmingham CrossPlex. Senior Montrell Morrow captured the Pirates' first event title of the weekend in the weight throw and three athletes set new school records.
Morrow's mark of 20.63 meters in the weight throw not only gave him the event championship, but also represents the new facility standard.
In the team race, the women put themselves in position to challenge for their first C-USA championship as they hold a 43-28.5 advantage over defending champion UCF. As for the men, the squad is in fifth place after accruing 21 points - 18 behind leader Houston.
"We are very proud of both the men and women for their performances today," head coach Curt Kraft said. "If the women stay focused and keep believing they have a chance, they could do something special tomorrow. I am excited to see the improvement and growth in many of our athletes."
Sophomore Tania Minkins was responsible for two of the school records, running respective times of 7.42 and 23.88 in the 60 and 200-meter dash events, and easily advanced to the finals in both disciplines. Senior Brittany Copeland's time of 16:15.66 in the 5,000-meter run surpassed her own program standard and allowed her to capture second place. It also was faster than the previous meet record (16:15.98) set last year by UTEP's Risper Kimaiyo who bested Copeland this year for the crown.
Other Pirates who garnered all-conference honors Saturday were Kim Kanala (weight throw/18.10 meters/second place), Kathryn Warner (pole vault/3.76 meters/third place) and the distance medley relay tandem of Amanda Lapp, Britney Kott, Brooke Kott and Copeland (11:39.74/third place).
A number of athletes, both men and women, will compete for titles tomorrow after qualifying in various preliminary races. Austin Lewis and Torrance Hunt captured third and sixth overall in the 60-meter dash with times of 6.82 and 6.90 while Lewis posted the seventh-fastest time in the 200 at 21.84.
Sophomore All-America Aiesha Goggins, the current meet record holder in the 400, will have the chance to defend her league title in the event as she won the prelim race in a time of 54.98. She is joined by Tyshonda Hawkins (55.12) and Tiffany Harris (56.05), who finished third and sixth.
The current school record holder in the 800-meter run, Michael Quercia, and Jakub Trzasalski took fourth and fifth with times of 1:53.25 and 1:53.98 to advance to the finals and their efforts were matched on the women's side by the Kott twins with Brooke (2:12.77) ending up in second place and Britney (2:13.40) snatching third.
Pirate men dominated the 60-meter hurdles prelim with Joseph Samuels, Quinton Harley and Patrick Jones racking up second, fifth and eighth-place results to qualify for tomorrow's final. Samuels' time of 8.01 was just hundredths of a second behind his school-record time of 7.98. Erin Tucker will represent the women in the hurdles race after clocking in at 8.58 for seventh place.
The men's heptathlon will open day two of competition tomorrow with the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 100m at 10:00 a.m. CT. The running event finals are scheduled to start at 2 p.m. with the awards presentations tentatively scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
The entire championship will be televised on Friday, March 2 at 2 p.m. ET by Fox Sports Net on a tape delayed basis.