Track and Field mid-season report


Susan Fanelli, Staff Reporter

It was a meet of many great performances and many broken records.

With Tulane’s track and field team entering the second month of its outdoor season, the Green Wave returned home after a brief stint in Gainesville, Florida for the Pepsi Florida Relays. The Wave’s next meet will take the team to west to Waco, Texas for the Baylor Invitational on April 9.

“In the outdoor season we add a few events like the javelin and the 400 meter hurdles,” head coach Eric Peterson said. “We have athletes right now on our team that are leading our conference in those two events. [Freshman hurdler] Jessica Duckett in the 400 meter hurdles and [redshirt senior thrower] Daliadiz Ortiz, who’s the two-time defending champion in the javelin. Those were two examples of why I’m feeling optimistic about the outdoor season. We’re off to a good start.”

On April 1 and 2, Tulane went head to head with hundreds of high schools and colleges at the Pepsi Florida Relays. There, the Green Wave went up against some of the toughest competition in the country.

Freshman distance runner Emmanuel Rotich achieved a personal best in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. There were also a few athletes who broke or nearly broke school records—among them, freshman middle distance runner Mckenzie Melius, who broke the freshman school record with a time of 11:11.83 in the 3,000 meter steeplechase.

“We definitely have seen some standouts,” Peterson said. “We have a very good junior pole vaulter in Mary Carson Pitts. We have strength in all areas and all disciplines on the team, and It leaves us all—our entire team and coaching staff—optimistic about moving forward.”

The Pepsi Florida Relays marks the fourth meet of the outdoor season for Tulane track and field, putting the team at the middle of its season. Before the conference championships begin in mid-May, the team will have five more meets that will take it across the country to face off against some of its most challenging competitors yet.

“The month of April poses the most interesting challenge,” Peterson said. “The most difficult meets are in front of us.”

When talking about the upcoming challenges for the track and field team, Peterson stressed balance and leadership as the keys for finishing the regular season meets strong.

“We’ve improved a lot,” Peterson said. “We have better leadership within the ranks of our team. [Senior sprinter] Lilla McMillian, Daliadiz Ortiz, Jessica Adamson and Mary Carson Pitts are strong leaders in all four areas of our team. We’re getting good growth and development out of our entire team.”

For the end of the year, Peterson hopes to see the team place among the top three in The American Outdoor Track and Field Championships, as well as bring that momentum to the subsequent NCAA regional and championship meets starting in June.

“The one goal is we want to place in the top three,” Peterson said. “That’s the goal that we set last year at the end of the season. We’re working toward that and we’re very hopeful that we’re going to be able to accomplish that.”

Tulane track and field will hit the road on April 9 in their next meet against Baylor. Then, the women’s team will head out on April 14 to Long Beach, California for the Mt. SAC Relays

“We’re balanced, we’re improving, and we’re going to be a tough team as the season unfolds,” Peterson said.

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