Jan. 10, 2014
After opening the season last month with the first home indoor meet in the program's history, the Vanderbilt track team is now ready to hit the road.
The Commodores are traveling to Birmingham this weekend to compete in the UAB Invitational. The two-day event will feature more than 40 teams, including five SEC schools -- Florida, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Miss. State and Vanderbilt.
The Commodores will enter the weekend with hopes of building on the momentum they gained during a strong showing at last month's historic Music City Challenge -- the first-ever indoor meet on the Vanderbilt campus held inside the university's new multipurpose facility.
A total of four Commodores won their individual events during the Challenge, including Erin Edmond (500 meters), Faith Washington (300 meters), Katherine Delaney (1000 meters) and freshman Sarah Bell (pole vault). Head coach Steve Keith said that event was a good early-season measuring stick for his team.
"(It) was really just a way to gauge fitness and progress at the end of the fall training period for the sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers," said Keith. "In that respect I thought we showed well and made good progress with our young group."
Scheduled to be among the competitors for Vanderbilt on the opening day of this weekend's event are: Jennifer Cannon and Sarah Goodale in the 60-H; Simone Charley and Tierney Price in the triple jump; Sarah Bell and Katie Watts in the pole vault; Erin Edmond in the 300 meters; and Skyler Carpenter, Courtney Clayton, Cannon and Goodale in the 500.
Keith said his team has been battling some of the normal ailments that occur this time of year, but said the Commodores are eager to go to work this weekend.
"We're dealing with quite a few colds and residual illnesses from winter break so we have to be careful not to overdo it, but the women are anxious to get out and compete," he said. "It will take a couple of meets before we really hit stride so our expectations are a little muted."
Keith said he is optimistic the Commodores can make some noise throughout the two-day event and hopes this will be another positive step for his team.
"The great thing about this year's squad is that we have more quality individuals in more events than year's past," he said. "Suffice it to say that each week we plan on attacking our top-10 lists and putting some good marks up on the SEC lists. Everyone, however, is focused on what happens in late February at the SEC Indoor so it will be a process each week."
During the Music City Challenge, Edmond won the 500 meters in 1:15.17; Washington won the 300 meters in 39.86 seconds; Delaney finished in 2:54.11 to win the the 1000 meters and Bell took the pole vault by clearing 12'9.5" in her Vanderbilt debut.
In the 500 meters, Vanderbilt swept the top two spots with Edmond winning the event in front of teammate Carpenter, who turned in a time of 1:17.34.