April 20, 2012
MYRTLE BEACH - Day two of the of the Big South Championship was qualifying day and the Coastal Carolina women's track and field team took full advantage of the opportunities presented as a total of 20 Chanticleers qualified for Saturday's finals in seven different events. Additionally, both Kierra Gabe and Mary Lawrence claimed Big South individual event titles on the day.
At the conclusion of the day, Liberty had surged to the top of the team leaderboard with 93.5 points. The defending champion Chanticleers are within easy striking distance of the Lady Flames with 89 points. Gardner-Webb sits in third with 46 team points.
Coastal's throws trio of Brittany Connor, Shantelle Patterson and Naomi Atkins got the Chants' day two action started with the shot put. Connor and Patterson advanced through to the finals where both would score valuable team points. Connor, who won the event in 2010, finished fourth in the stout field with a personal-record throw of 13.34m (43-09.25). Patterson, a senior, placed fifth with a toss of 12.98m (42-07.00). Atkins narrowly missed advancing to the finals, finishing in 10th with a distance of 12.18m (39-11.50).
Kierra Gabe out dueled Liberty's Mia Aghaji in the high jump to win the Chants' third individual title of the championship. Gabe has now won three of the last four Big South high jump crown dating back to the 2010 indoor season. Both Gabe, who placed second in the long jump on Thursday, and Aghaji cleared the final height of 1.76m (5-09.25); however, Gabe would win the event title based on fewer misses throughout the competition. The pair's jumps were also Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium facility records.
For the second time in three years Mary Lawrence walked away with the Big South pole vault crown. Lawrence, a senior from Bethlehem, Pa., cleared 3.80m (12-05.50) as she defeated her closest competitor by a tenth of a meter. Lawrence previous won the event in 2010 with a height of 3.56m (11-08).
Sophomore Ashley Davis and freshman Camille Hurley each finished second in their 100m hurdle heats to advance to the finals. Davis clocked a personal-record setting 14.06, while Hurley also finished with a personal-best time of 14:38. Christina Davis missed the finals by .21 second as she finished third in the first heat and 10th overall with a 14.67.
Four Chanticleers stepped into the block in the 400m trials and all four ran quick enough times to advance to the event finals on Saturday. Santresa Jamison led the charge for Coastal as she won her heat with the day's top time of 56.09. Freshman Myrtle Beach High School product Qwontajah Thompson made the most of her "home" track advantage as she won the first heat of the day with a career-best time of 56.86. Sharmaine Barnes advanced with a time of 57.43 followed by Jerica Howard with a 58.37.
Also qualifying for Saturday's finals were Erica Peake, Gabrielle Lee and A. Davis in the 100m-dash. Peake, who entered the meet with the league's second quickest time, held true to form as she won her heat and qualified second overall with a time of 11.71. Lee shaved a hundredth off her season-best time as she stopped the clock in 12.09 followed closely by A. Davis in 12.16. Ruby Durham placed 12th overall with a time of 12.41.
Christina Davis ran a career-best time of 1:01.94 in the 400m hurdle trials to take the top seed in Saturday's finals. Also earning placing in the finals were senior Samantha Simile (1:05.12) and sophomore Caitlin Baker (1:05.79). Hurley also competed for the Chants in the event, placing ninth overall with a time of 1:06.62.
Three Chanticleers advanced to the finals of the 200m in the final preliminary trial of the day. Erica Peake easily won her heat with a season-best time of 23.71. Lee clocked a season-best time of 25.01 to finish seventh overall followed by Q. Thompson with a 25.03 in eighth. Jamison, who finished in 25.04, was a hundredth of a second from earning her second finals bid of the day.
The Chanticleers had a trio of athletes advance to Saturday's 1,500m finals. Senior Christian Johnson, the defending conference champion, qualified with the day's top time of 4:43.61. Also advancing were freshman Sophie Perry, who stopped the clock in 4:43.71, and Shelby Nicosia (4:43.78). The three placed first through third in the second heat of the afternoon.
Johnson and Perry also advanced to the finals of the 800m. Johnson finished with the day's best time of 2:12.20 as she cruised to the finish line, defeating her closest heat competitor by two seconds. Perry also won her qualifying heat with a time of 2:17.10.
Saturday's non-stop action starts at 10 a.m. with the women's discus and concludes with the always exciting men's 4x400m relay at 4:30 p.m.
Shelby Nicosia picked up four team points in the 3,000m steeplechase with a fifth-place finish. Nicosia finished with 7.5 lap event with a time of 11:15.23, eclipsing her previous personal-best by 10 seconds. Jessica Dennison placed seventh, earning two team points. Dennison also drastically improved upon her previous personal-best as she crossed the finish line in 11:22.22.
All-Big South Honorees
Erica Peake - Long Jump, champion
Letitia Saayman - 10,000m, champion
Kierra Gabe - High Jump, champion; Long Jump, second
Shantelle Patterson - Hammer, second
Mary Lawrence - Pole Vault, champion