Feb. 8, 2014
NEW YORK -- The Vanderbilt track team delivered a message this weekend, and it came across loud and clear.
Traveling to New York for the New Balance Armory Collegiate Invitational, the Commodores thrived throughout the two-day event, eventually leaving town with a bevy of impressive numbers while earning a seventh-place overall finish among the 100-plus schools at the meet.
The Commodores had a large number of showings that ranked among the top-10 in the program's history, including a school record set by freshman Sarah Bell in the pole vault, a first-place finish by senior Liz Anderson in her first-ever indoor 5K and an attention-grabbing performance by freshman Courtney Clayton with a second-place finish in the 800.
"It was a nice overall effort, and it gives (us) some perspective on where (we) are," said head coach Steve Keith. "We had a lot of kids -- the ones we will be looking to (in future meets) -- who stepped up and contributed."
Keith said the Commodores' strong showing made for a memorable and enjoyable weekend in the Big Apple.
"This was fun," he said. "For us to perform well in this environment (was great). With 100-plus schools, including some that our kids had never heard of, (this meet) was about us getting some confidence. And that's what we are looking for in February."
Clayton provided one of Vanderbilt's biggest highlights on Saturday, when she earned second place in the 800 with a time of 2:07.60. It was a new personal best for Clayton, and the second-best time in Commodore indoor history.
Clayton finished less than one second behind the first-place time set by Stephanie Brown of Arkansas in a different heat.
Clayton's performance was just one of many top-level performances by the Commodores. The list also included:
* Carmen Carlos taking fifth in the 3000-meter dash with a time of 9:41.65 (ninth best on the Vanderbilt all-time list);
* Brionne Williams finishing in a three-way tie for fifth in the high jump, cleaning 5-07.25 (sixth best on the Vanderbilt all-time list);
* Simone Charley earning ninth in the triple jump at 41-00.25 (third best on the Vanderbilt all-time list);
* Skyler Carpenter taking 10th in the 500-meter dash with a time of 1:15.37 (second best on the Vanderbilt all-time list);
* Jennifer Cannon earning ninth in the high jump at 5-05.25 (tied for eighth on the Vanderbilt all-time list); * Hannah Jumper finishing ninth in the 1-mile run at 5:01.08.
The Commodores also shined in the in the 5000-meter run, with a pair of representatives among the top-10. Claire Benjamin took sixth with a time of 17:19.48 (eighth on the Vanderbilt all-time list) and Vanessa Valentine was seventh at 17:23.96 (10th on the Vanderbilt all-time list).
Vanderbilt also had two representatives among the Top-10 in the 800. Katherine Delaney finished seventh with a time of 2:13.51 and Skyler Carpenter was right behind her in eighth with a time of 2:13.71.
Vanderbilt finished fourth in the 4x400 Meter Relay with a time of 3:44.18.
The Commodores set the tone for their strong showing on Friday, when Anderson competed in an indoor 5000-meter run for the first time in her career and posted a first-place time of 16:36:11.
Also on Friday, Bell set a new school indoor record in the pole vault by clearing 13-01.50, and Vanderbilt's distance medley relay team earned a fourth-place finish with a time of 11:27.43, the third-best time in the Commodores' record book.
Other solid performances this weekend included Sara Barron taking 11th in the 1-mile run with a time of 4:49.35 (sixth on the Vanderbilt all-time list), and Tierney Price finishing 24th in the triple jump at 37-06.
Cannon finished 15th in the semifinals of the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.59 (third on Vanderbilt's all-time list) after finishing 23rd in the prelims with a time of 8.62.
Faith Washington finished 45th in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.40, and finished 32nd in the 400 with a time of 56.73.
Rebecca Chandler finished 11th in the 1-mile run with a time of 5:01.65, and Erin Edmond took 17th in the 400-meter dash prelims with a time of 57.04.
In the 200-meter dash, Edmond took 34th with a time of 25.78 and Sarah Goodale was 48th with a time 26.36. Goodale also competed in the 60-meter hurdles prelims and finished 27th with a time of 9.20.
Courtney Kriegshauser was 20th in the 3000 meter run with a time of 10:06.38.
Vanderbilt will have a split squad next weekend, with some athletes going to Seattle and others to Arkansas for the Tyson Invitational.