Commodores complete solid performance at Black and Gold meet

Vanderbilt's Courtney Clayton competes during Saturday's Black and Gold meet.

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Saturday started with a ceremony and ended with a celebration for the Vanderbilt track team.

Hosting the second day of the Black and Gold meet, the Commodores overcame nasty weather conditions while producing a continual stream of highlights to cap off their only home meet of the outdoor season.

The morning started with the Vanderbilt program recognizing four seniors -- Brionne Williams, Megan Yohe, Kara Slavoski and David McAdams -- and the day concluded with hugs and high-fives after the Commodores captured first place in the 4x400 in dominating style.

In between those two events, there were numerous other memorable moments, including first-place finishes by Brionne Williams in the high jump, Skyler Carpenter in the 400 hurdles and Katherine Delaney in the 800.

"This was a really positive race for me," said Delaney, who posted a time of 2:11.87. "I loved having the home crowd, and I wanted to do well for my teammates and the Vanderbilt fans."

The Commodore contingent had plenty to cheer about throughout the day, which featured several of the top performances in team history.

In the 400 hurdles, Carpenter posted a time of 1:00.98 -- which ranks sixth on Vanderbilt's all-time outdoor performers list -- while edging out second-place finisher Missouri State's Oarabile Babolayi (1:01.00).

Carpenter said her time was right about where she wanted it to be, and said she was focused on making a strong finishing kick.

"I wanted to be around 60 seconds," she said. "I tried to make the first 200 meters as routine as I could (because) the last 200 is where the race really begins."

Vanderbilt was especially impressive in the 3000 meter race, where Liz Anderson's time of 9:38.36 -- which earned her a second-place finish -- ranked as the third-best time on Vanderbilt's all-time performers list, and freshman Carmen Carlos posted the program's 10th-best time by finishing at 9:49.12 (fourth place overall).

Sophomore Vanessa Valentine took sixth place with a time of 9:56.84, junior Clair Benjamin was eighth at 9:59.55 and freshman Courtney Kriegshauser was 22nd at 10:28.11.

Other top-10 finishes for the Commodores included:

*Freshman Sarah Bell earning second place in the pole vault at 3.70;
*Freshman Courtney Clayton taking third in the 400 with a time of 56.61;
*Sara Barron finishing third in the 800 at 2:12.53 and third in the 1500 at 4:26.70;
* Reagan Anderson posting a 10th-place finish in the 800 at 2:15.94; and
* Amira Joseph taking third in the 2000m Steeplechase with a time of 7:01.72, followed directly by teammate Rebecca Chandler in fourth at 7:04.95.

Vanderbilt's long list of top-tier performances is made all the more impressive by the fact that Saturday's weather conditions were not favorable. Many of the athletes were greeted by drizzling rain when they arrived at the track, and a cold breeze blew throughout the day.

Delaney said she tried to ignore the fact that she and the other competitors were running against the wind.

"The conditions were kind of bad," she said with a smile, "(but) I tried not to think about the weather and just stay tactical."

Carpenter and Delaney completed their day by teaming up with Erin Edmond and Clayton to help Vanderbilt win the 4x400 with a time of 3:50.83, which was nearly four seconds ahead of second-place Miami (Ohio).

The women's 4x400 race was the final event of the meet (the men's 4x400 was cancelled due to a lack of participants) and Vanderbilt's victory was a perfect finishing touch to the weekend for the Commodores.

"We're all really progressing," said Delaney. "(The Vanderbilt program) has set some high standards, and we're ready to do some great things."

The Commodores will be tested again next weekend, when part of the squad travels to Gainesville, Fla., for the Florida Relays while several others will travel to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford Relays.


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