Erika Schneble, Amy Huss Finish 2-3 in SEC 5,000;
Commodores Earn 10th Place Team Result
Fayetteville, Ark. -- For the last five months, Vanderbilt distance runner Erika Schneble has been running in the shadow of junior teammate Amy Huss, trying to return to her national caliber conditioning of two years ago. On Sunday, Schneble proved she is on the way to a full recovery.
The senior ran her best race since the 2004 Southeastern Conference Championships, running a highly competitive 16:38.79 to finish second overall behind Auburn standout Angela Homan, who also captured the SEC 10,000-meter run Friday.
Huss, from Wyomissing, Pa., also continued her solid form. Entering the race as the second seed, Huss finished third in 16:41.45.
The 2-3 finish by Schneble and Huss provided the Commodores with 14 team points, and allowed the squad to finish in 10th place overall. The Commodores finished with 28 points.
Earlier Sunday, senior middle distance runner Caitlin Shannon put together the finest 1,500-meter race of her career in an eighth place finish and the team's Commodore 4x400-meter relay foursome closed with a seventh place finish.
Besides the performances of Schneble and Huss, the team's top highlight came Friday when senior Garnetta Holloway became just the fifth Commodore to claim an SEC victory by winning the heptathlon.
Schneble, from Hendersonville, N.C., holds one of those five individual victories, and tried valiantly Sunday to duplicate her 2004 winning performance at Ole Miss.
With an outdoor best of 16:59 entering the meet, few observers gave Schneble much chance to contend for the individual crown. Competing just two days after walking in Vanderbilt's commencement ceremonies, Schneble ran much of the race just behind Homan in a group that included Huss, Dacia Barr of Arkansas and Jill Steffens of Georgia. In the closing lap, as Homan maintained her winning edge, Schneble and Huss edged away from both Barr and Steffens, ensuring the 2-3 Commodore finish.
For Schneble, the time knocked 20 seconds off her previous best performance this year, and qualified her for the upcoming NCAA Regionals. Both Schneble and Huss will have a chance to run their way into the NCAA Championships June 7-10 in Sacramento.
It marked Schneble's fastest 5,000 since the she captured the 2004 league title with a 16:22.92. After that race, Schneble began to experience pain in her foot, and eventually was sidelined from competitive racing for more than a year.
After redshirting last year, Schneble returned to action in cross country last falll She has steadily worked her way back to superb racing shape.
Before the superb Commodore showing in the 5,000, Shannon's performance stood out as a team highlight Sunday. A senior from DePere, Wisc., Shannon finished eighth overall in the 1,500 meters. Additionally, her 4:28.70 performance broke her previous best established three weeks ago in a winning effort at the Vanderbilt Invitational. Shannon becomes the sixth fastest Commodore ever at the distance.
The 4x400-meter foursome of sophomore Lauren Fortson, Amani Floyd, Latisha and Garnetta Holloway ran a season best of 3:44.20 to win their heat and finish seventh overall.
Other Commodore athletes who competed in SEC finals but did not finish among the top eight were Bryant in the 400-meter hurdles, Holloway in the javelin, and hammer throwers Kasi Foster and Deanna Morelli.