Head Coach Curt Kraft was named 2012 Conference USA Indoor Coach of the Year.
Feb. 26, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A total team effort by the East Carolina women's track and field squad paid off Sunday as the Pirates captured their first-ever Conference USA Indoor Championship title at the Birmingham CrossPlex. ECU downed defending champion UCF, out-scoring the Knights 123-113.5 to claim the crown. The men also found success, producing their highest-ever placement in the event by taking third place.
As a result of the ladies' performance over the two-day event, head coach Curt Kraft was named C-USA Indoor Women's Coach-of-the-Year. The conference title is the first for the Pirates since winning the Colonial Athletic Association women's outdoor championship in 2000.
"This is a complete team effort by the coaching staff and athletes," Kraft said. "Teams do not win championships without great coaches and athletes. All the credit goes to our kids today. We knew as a staff if they continued to work hard and stay focused, this championship dream would come true. We feel so lucky to represent the Pirate Nation!"
The championship-clinching 10 points were provided by the 4x400 relay tandem of Tyshonda Hawkins, Tiffany Harris, Tania Minkins and Aiesha Goggins as they pulled past UCF's squad and finished the race in a league meet record time of 3:39.00 - just five seconds shy of the automatic NCAA qualifying standard. Minkins also improved upon the ECU school records she produced in the 60 and 200-meter dash events yesterday, running respective times of 7.40 (third place) and 23.88 (second place) to snatch all-conference honors in both races.
Junior Tynita Butts is heading the NCAA Indoor Championships after posting a mark of 1.85 meters to win the gold in the high jump. She tied the C-USA indoor meet record with the effort and fell just .02 short of her own school standard.
The Pirates captured a total of five individual championships Sunday to end up with six for the weekend. In addition to Montrell Morrow's win in the weight throw yesterday, senior Dennis Aliotta turned in a school-record mark of 18.36 meters to claim the gold medal in the shot put while junior Brooke Kott recorded her first-ever league title with a victory in the 800-meter dash. She clocked in at 2:09.23 to edge out Tulsa's Done' Vermaak. Kott's twin sister Britney also afforded East Carolina a valuable six points in the race as she finished third by clocking in at 2:09.72
Senior Brittany Copeland set a new C-USA meet record in the 3,000-meter run and rushed past Becky Wade from Rice in a time of 9:30.08 to earn her spot atop the podium.
The 400-meter dash proved to be a huge factor in the victory for the women, as Hawkins (54.24), Harris (54.36) and Goggins (54.45) placed second, third and fourth to score a total of 19 points in the event.
On the men's side, ECU racked up a number of all-conference performances - starting with Joseph Samuels' second-place result in the 60-meter hurdles where he clocked in at 8.02. Austin Lewis ended up third in the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.80 and Jakub Trzasalski grabbed the bronze medal in the 800-meter run when he finished the event in 1:51.87. Miles Coats also smashed his personal-best effort in the triple jump, posting a mark of 14.65 meters and grabbing second place. Before Butts heads off to the NCAA Indoor Championships, her teammates will have a chance to join her as East Carolina will participate in the Alex Wilson Invitational. The meet is scheduled for March 2-3 at the Loftus Sports Center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.
2012 C-USA INDOOR TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
FINAL TEAM RESULTS
MEN'S TEAM FINAL
1. Tulsa 139
2. Houston 138
3. East Carolina 90.5
4. Memphis 86.5
5. UTEP 80.5
6. Southern Miss 62.50
7. Rice 62
WOMEN'S TEAM FINAL
1. East Carolina 123
2. UCF 113.5
3. Houston 74
4. Memphis 62
5. Rice 51
6. UTEP 47
7. SMU 45
8. UAB 41
8. Southern Miss 41
10. Tulsa 30
11. Marshall 19
12. Tulane 16.5
2012 MEN'S INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
High Point Scorer of the Meet - Isaiah Sweeney, Houston
Performance of the Meet - Errol Nolan, Houston
Freshman of the Meet - John Horton, Houston
Coach of the Year - Steve Gulley, Tulsa
2012 WOMEN'S INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
High Point Scorer of the Meet - Octavious Freeman, UCF
Performance of the Meet - Jackie Coward, UCF
Freshman of the Meet - Octavious Freeman, UCF
Coach of the Year - Curt Kraft, East Carolina