Emory Track & Field Squads Shine In UAA Tune-Up

With the University of Athletic Association (UAA) finals approaching, the men’s and women’s track and field teams competed in the Johnson C. Smith Invitational at Charlotte, N.C. on Friday and Saturday.

At the Smith Invitational, the Eagles notched season-best performances in 12 different events. For the women’s team, senior Charlotte Diggs ran the second-fastest 400-meter hurdles in school history, finishing with a time of 1:02.54 seconds.

The Eagles’ 4×100-meter relay team, comprised of seniors Lauren Attiah, Alix Dyer, Jasmine McCullough and freshman Debora Adjibaba, ran the eighth-fastest time in all of Division III this season, completing the race in 47.84 seconds.

Adjibaba finished 11th in the 400-meter dash with a time of 56.90 seconds, which is the second-fastest time for the event in Emory history.

Freshman Stephanie Crane led the Eagles in the 800-meter run with a time of 2.16.28 minutes, good for a fifth-place finish.

Freshman Elaina Kim cleared 3.19 meters on the pole vault, winning the event and setting a season best for the Eagles in the process.

Even though the women’s team appears to be dominated by freshmen and sophomores, its youth and inexperience does not hinder its success.

“We have a lot of youngsters on the women’s roster, and they have responded really well to the training load and to college competition,” Head Coach John Curtin said. “There is a lot of talent in the freshman and sophomore classes, but more importantly these kids are competitors, and they don’t see being inexperienced as a problem.”

The team’s upperclassmen includes newly crowned UAA Athlete of the Week Lauren Attiah. Attiah is currently ranked fourth in the nation in the triple-jump event and runs the 200-meter dash and both relay events. Additionally, Senior Tess Gallegos currently holds the 5000-meter run school record and is ranked 10th nationally in the event.

These Eagles understand that hard work and motivation will help them maintain their successes.

“[I] rest, train hard and keep developing small and attainable goals to keep me motivated and moving forward,” Gallegos said. “I think we all motivate one another in very different ways depending on the person.”

The men’s team also set a number of personal records at the meet. Freshman Gui Silva ran the 400-meter dash in 50.03 seconds, a season best among his fellow freshman teammates.
Captain and senior, Ian Francis recorded a time 11.28 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 22.87 seconds in the 200-meter dash.

Fellow captain and senior Geraint Davies set a time of 9:55.24 minutes in the 3000-meter run, a season high for the Eagles. Sophomore Somon Nader recorded a season best for the Eagles with a 3.95 meter clearance in the pole vault.

Freshman Ankush Mohile and sophomore Nick Cortellessa set season bests with times of 16.32 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles and 1:00.38 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles, respectively.

The Eagles are beginning to come into form in time for the UAA Outdoor Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which will take place two weeks from now.

“With UAA’s in two weeks we’re starting to taper down a bit and put a lot more emphasis on fixing all the little technical things to get us in peak shape,” captain and senior Xavier Fowler said. “Outside of training, I’m paying a lot more attention to staying healthy.”

Before the Eagles compete in the UAA’s, they will first compete in the War Eagle Invitational at Auburn, Ala. on April 20 and 21.

— Contact Zonair Khan.

4/16/2012