Feb. 7, 2014
NEW YORK - Kyla van Graan, Christal Green and Jessica Gelibert each set new school records Friday to highlight the Coastal Carolina women’s indoor track and field team’s strong first day at the Armory Collegiate Invitational, being held at the New Balance Track and Field Center inside New York City’s famous downtown Armory facility.
Competing in the championship division of the 5,000 meters, van Graan clocked a time of 16:53.40 to join her sister, Aynslee van Graan, in the CCU record books. Aynslee had set a new Coastal mark in the mile run last weekend. Kyla’s performance on Friday broke the 15-year old record of 17:15.65 held by All-American Jolene Williams since 1999.
The time was also good enough for a fifth-place finish in the event among an elite field of competitors. Van Graan, who is competing in her second indoor season as a Chant, was just .18 seconds off of fourth place and trailed only runners from Vanderbilt, Connecticut, BYU and Clemson. With more than 100 colleges and universities involved, the meet is one of the nation’s largest indoor competitions.
Letitia Saayman also competed in the championship 5,000 meters and placed ninth in a time of 17:20.84.
Green, meanwhile, bettered her CCU and Big South record time that she established in the 400 meters two weeks ago. Green ran a 54.79 in a preliminary of the event on Friday, lowering the mark from 55.41. The time was the fastest in her preliminary heat of the championship division and the eighth-best overall, qualifying her for Saturday’s 10-runner final.
Sophomore Jessica Gelibert also broke her own school record Friday, while taking third place in the championship division of the 500 meters. Gelibert turned in a time of 1:12.66 to lead the way in her heat. Only runners from Kansas and Hampton were quicker in the event and she bettered the previous Coastal mark of 1:14.54.
Earlier in the day, Gelibert ran the two fastest 60-meter hurdles races of her career and nearly set another CCU mark. In her preliminary of the championship division, Gelibert was fifth fastest among the 55-runner field with an 8.47. She then topped that in the semifinals, clocking 8.34, the second-best in her heat (by .01 seconds) and fourth overall. The time was also just .01 off the school record of 8.33 by LeAuna Sistruck from 2006.
Gelibert qualified for the nine-competitor final of the event, but did not run because the race followed closely after the 500 meters.
Also for the Chants on Friday, Shelby Nicosia placed third in the Eastern division of the 3,000 meters. She set a new personal-best time of 10:04.24. Freshman Kaila Smith notched her best time of the season in the 500 meters, clocking 1:15.30 to finish ninth in the college division.
The meet resumes on Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m. A live webcast can be seen here. The women’s 400-meter final is scheduled to be run at approximately 4:19 p.m. Green is also scheduled to compete in the 200 meters, while Aynslee van Graan is among four Chanticleers entered in the mile. Coastal also looks for another strong run in the 4x400 relay.