May 22, 2013
Following its best team performance in eight years at the SEC Outdoor Track & Field Championships, the Vanderbilt track and field team will send 11 competitors (12 entries) to the 2013 NCAA East Preliminary Round in Greensboro, N.C.
"It's our highest number ever and we we think we can keep going," said Head Coach Steve Keith. "It's nice to pair up and see combinations in some events. This meet serves a lot of purposes. Obviously advancing to the NCAA Finals, but for the younger ones, the experience of being at that high national level and being able to compete at that level."
Findley enters the meet looking for a bit of redemption after missing a trip to the NCAA Championships by .10 seconds last season. She has the top seed time of the VU runners at 4:17.98, which is seeded 19th entering the event. The senior also had the best finish of any Commodore at the SEC Championships, finishing fourth in the 1,500 meters.
"(Narrowly missing last year's finals has) been big motivation for her," Keith said. "It took a good bit of the outdoor season to get her back to that level, but better to be on that trajectory right now than in March. She's feeling good and that's how you like to see the kids this time of year."
Williams earned All-Freshman honors in the event at the SEC meet, finishing ninth in the finals with a time of 4:22.48. The rookie owns the third-best mark in Vanderbilt history in the event.
"Lily has had a great knack of finding ways to advance and it's really nice to see that in a freshman," says Keith. "She's done it at indoor and outdoors. If they can get another chance to run (from the first round to the quarterfinal), that would be really nice."
Anderson, Orders and Scalf enter the event with the top three 10K times in program history. Anderson ran her first collegiate 10K in 33:51.35 to set a school record at the Mt. SAC Relays earlier this year. Orders and Scalf made their collegiate debuts at the SEC meet, running in 34:48.05 and 45:50.53, respectively.
"This is a similar race to how the conference meet went, as well as some of the same players in this one," Keith explained. "Liz has an opportunity to her. She has a good level head about her, good instincts and good intuition. The other two ran their first 10K at SECs and by the way, they get to run another one. That's what you train for and that's a happy dilemma."
100 meter hurdles - Jennifer Cannon
First Round - Friday, 4:00 p.m. CT
Quarterfinal - Saturday, 6:05 p.m. CT
Cannon will run in the 100 meter hurdles and the 400 meter hurdles on the weekend. The freshman set a school record in the 100 hurdles at the SEC Championships during the heptathlon, finishing in 13.51 seconds. It helped her to a seventh place finish and All-Freshman honors in the heptathlon.
400 meter hurdles - Jennifer Cannon & Faith Washington
First Round - Thursday, 3:30 p.m. CT
Quarterfinals - Friday, 6:30 p.m. CT
Cannon will be joined by classmate Faith Washington in the 400 hurdles. Washington enters with a slightly better seed time of 58.44, while Cannon enters with a time of 58.60.
High Jump - Brionne Williams & Ellie Tidman
Williams and Tidman are both returning to the NCAA Preliminary Round after appearances a year ago. Williams currently has the second-best jump in program history at 1.80 meters (5' 10.75"), while Tidman is third with a career-best clearance of 1.77 meters (5' 9.75").
The high jump is probably the most chaotic qualifying session they'll have," explained Keith. "They have 24 on two pits, going at the same time, and you really have to be able to focus mentally on what you're doing, not what's going on around you. Definitely helps that they've been there before and that Brionne advanced to the indoor nationals this year. I'm sure she'd like to double-up."
All 11 Commodores in competition are attempting to qualify for the NCAA Championships, which will be held June 5-8, in Eugene, Ore.