March 18, 2014
The Vanderbilt track program is experiencing a change of scenery -- and sophomore Vanessa Valentine is ready for it.
After completing a highly-successful indoor season, Valentine and the Commodores will officially transition into the outdoor season this weekend when they participate in the Alabama Relays in Tuscaloosa.
"As a team, we basically use the indoor season as a springboard (for the outdoor season)," said Valentine. "That's not to say that we don't take it (indoor) seriously, because we do. But we kind of use it as base training (for outdoor)."
Head coach Steve Keith said he is excited to find out what the coming months have in store for his team, beginning with this weekend's trip to Alabama.
"(This meet) will give us a chance to find out our strengths and weaknesses," he said "and then we can use the season accordingly."
The Commodores built momentum for the outdoor campaign by closing out the indoor season in memorable fashion with an impressive performance at last month's SEC Indoor Championships.
Vanderbilt scored points in six separate events -- representing the best overall showing in Keith's tenure as head coach -- and came home from College Station, Texas, with a long list of personal bests and school record-making performances.
Now the team is hoping to continue its progress, and produce even better results, this spring as the Commodores move to the second phase of the schedule.
Valentine said the outdoor season tends to bring out her best.
"I prefer outdoor," said Valentine. "For me, it's motivating to be outdoors on a nice day."
Seniors Liz Anderson and Brionne Williams fueled the Commodores during the indoor season, and they each capped it off with fine performances at the SEC Indoor Championships.
Anderson broke the school record, and shattered her personal best by 22 seconds, while taking fourth in the 5K with a time of 16:14.30, and Williams earned a share of fourth place in the high jump (1.78m).
Also, freshman Courtney Clayton finished seventh in the 800 meters with a time of 2:08.03, and freshman Simone Charley took eighth in the triple jump at 12.71m.
The distance medley team -- featuring the sophomore foursome of Katherine Delaney, Jennifer Cannon, Sara Barron and Lily Williams -- posted a time of 11:35.40. The 4x400 team -- comprised of sophomore Faith Washington, Carpenter, Clayton and junior Erin Edmond -- finished at 3:42.30.