Feb. 17, 2012
PITTSBURGH- Returning to action this weekend, the University of Pittsburgh women's track and field team travels to New York, N.Y. to compete in the BIG EAST Indoor Championships held at the Armory. The Panthers will send 17 qualifiers to the two-day event that begins on Saturday, Feb. 18 and concludes on Sunday, Feb. 19.
"I'm looking forward to a really competitive meet," Pitt head coach Alonzo Webb said. "We're confident that we can go in there and do a good job and be very competitive at the top level."
Highlighting its record setting performances this indoor season, the women's 4x200M relay team of juniors Jonnique Lawrence and Arielle Fonrose, senior Cambrya Jones and freshman Xauddina Whittington finished second with a time of 1:36.74 at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational. That time eclipsed the previous school record of 1:37.80 set in 2008 and is currently the second-fastest in the nation.
In another record-breaking performance at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, the 4x400M relay team comprised of Whittington, freshman Taylor Ellis-Watson, Fonrose and Lawrence placed fourth in the event with a time of 3:36.43. That mark shattered the 2011 standard of 3:36.57. The team currently holds the 10th-fastest time in the country.
Individually, Ellis-Watson has enjoyed an outstanding freshman season up to this point and holds the third-fastest time in the nation in the 400M dash. Ellis-Watson finished third in the event at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational with a time of 52.75, breaking a 21-year program record of 53.75 that was previously held by Keisha Demas (1991).
Ellis-Watson also holds the school record in the 300M, setting a pace of 38.51 at the Golden Flash Gala, the first meet of her collegiate career. She holds the third-fastest time in the nation.
The Panthers hope to continue their success from last year's performances at the BIG EAST Indoor Championships. In the 2011 competition, the women finished ninth overall and accumulated 48 points. Seven athletes recorded career-best marks highlighted by sophomore Ashley Corum.
Corum took home first place in the triple jump with an all-time best leap of 12.51M.
Both relay teams added strong finishes with the 4x400M relay team claiming second place with a mark of 3:42.36. The 4x800M relay team of Korinne Piper, Miya Johnson, Susannah Feinstein and Susan Martinez collected a ninth place showing.
"Before the season we always tell the team that there are only three things we're looking for them to do," Webb said. "No. 1 is to qualify for the Big East Championships. No. 2 is once you get to the Championships, make the finals. Then, No.3 is once you make the finals, to try and beat as many people as possible. It's very simple, that's our plan."
You can watch all the championship action live from the Armory at http://www.bigeast.org/Sports/IndoorTrackField/2012IndoorTrackChampionship.aspx.