ECU Men and Women in 7th After Day One Of C-USA Championships
March 1, 2008
Houston, Texas - At the conclusion of day one of the 2008 Conference USA Track & Field Championships Rice women and Tulsa men are at the top of the leader board with 43 and 42 points, respectively. The two-day event is being hosted by the University of Houston inside the Yeoman Field House and wraps up Saturday, March 1 with the running and relay event finals.
In the women's pole vault, Rice's senior Rachel Greff improved her two-year old meet record with a gold medal and season-best performance of 4.07 meters (13-04.25). Greff becomes the third three-time champion to repeat in consecutive seasons and the fifth to win three league titles in the same event in C-USA history.
Charlotte Abrahamsen of Memphis made an impressive debut in the pentathlon as the freshman established a conference record with a season-best 4,004 points in the five-event championship. Senior Nina Schvedoff of UTEP reclaimed her 20-pound weight throw title with a first-place and season-best mark of 18.99m (62-03.75). Schvedoff also won the event in 2006.
UTEP's freshman Blessing Okagbare had a solid performance in the women's long jump. She automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships with a C-USA and Yeoman Field House record leap of 6.65m (21-10.00). Sophomore Ashley May of Southern Miss provisionally qualified for nationals with a mark of 6.25m (20-06.25).
UTEP also took two of the top three honors in the men's 5,000m as seniors Patrick Matai and Japheth Ng'ojoy clocked times of 14:19.37 and 14:35.48 for gold and bronze medalist honors, respectively. Tulsa junior John Beattie took silver with an all-conference time of 14:27.52.
Senior Elizabeth Ambrus of UAB followed Greff as she became C-USA's sixth three-time champion in a single event when she turned in a NCAA provisional time of 16:31.83 in the 5,000m, setting another C-USA and Field House record. She also won the 5,000m in 2005 and 2007.
On the men's side, Memphis' Steffan Nerdal won his first C-USA indoor title with a provisional mark of 20.94m (68-08.5) in the 35-pound weight throw, followed by teammate Knut Syversen's 18.75m (61-06.25) mark and Hans Eriksson of UTEP's third-place finish of 18.41m (60-05.00) for all-conference honors.
Winning the men's long jump was Houston freshman Ed Turner with an NCAA provisional leap of 7.62m (25-00.0), followed by teammate and junior Grant Hightower's second-place finish of 7.30m (23-11.5). Memphis freshman Aaron Whetstone also earned All-C-USA honors with a third-place finish of 7.11m (23-04.0).
The Cougar men also won top honors in the high jump with senior standout Ivan Diggs clearing a top and NCAA provisional mark of 2.16m (7-01.00). Diggs entered the championship with the nation's third best mark of 2.22m (7-03.25).
Highlights from the preliminary rounds was Tulane senior Gloria Asumnu who clocked an automatic time for the nation with a 7.23, followed by provisional marks from UTEP senior Halimat Ismaila (7.35) and senior Desarie Walwyn of Rice (7.44). Freshman Isiah Gyasi of East Carolina qualified for the finals of the men's 60m dash with a provisional and prelim top time of 6.74.
Day one wrapped up with the women's and men's distance medley relay races. Tulsa dominated the women's race as Tayler Rigsby, Ashley Wills, April Montgomery and Alex Becker clocked a winning in a time of 11:43.29. UTEP's Dominic Tanui, Elias Koech, Aggrey Chirchir and Nicodemus Ng'etich teamed up to clocked a gold medal time of 10:06.03.
Overall, one NCAA automatic time was clocked, six qualified provisionally, while five C-USA Championship marks were improved and three Yeoman Field House records were set.
2008 C-USA WOMEN'S TRACK & FIELD STANDINGS
1. Rice 43
2008 C-USA MEN'S TRACK & FIELD STANDINGS
1. Tulsa 42