Pirate women capture Conference USA indoor track title
Published 4:45 pm Sunday, March 2, 2014
ECU Athletic Media Relations
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The East Carolina women’s track and field squad won the Conference USA Indoor Championship for the second time in three years after tallying 88 points, which was 15 points more than the second place finisher. Following the conclusion of the meet, Pirate head coach Curt Kraft was named C-USA Women’s Indoor Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.
“This was truly a team effort from all aspects,” Kraft said. “This was not about one individual or one event. Anytime a program wins a team championship it starts with a great coaching staff and great student-athletes. I can’t put into words how much this means to our staff and the kids to win this title.”
The men’s team placed third in the championship with 71.5 total points, finishing behind UTEP (123 points) and Louisiana Tech (77.5 points).
East Carolina came away with four conference titles, as Tania Minkins won the 200-meter dash (23.75), Aiesha Goggins took first in the 400-meter dash (54.50), Kayla Padgett set the standard in the weight throw (20.87-meters), and Drew Kanz earned gold in the high jump (2.18-meters). Overall, the Pirates had 11 top three finishers who earned All-Conference accolades.
“There were a lot of keys to winning this title,” Kraft stated. “As I stated before the meet, the two most important contributing factors were leadership and momentum. We as a staff and a team are very honored to represent this great university and this athletics department with this team title. I would also like to thank our director of athletics, Jeff Compher, and the athletic administration for all of the support they give to our track and field programs. Without them, none of this would be possible.”
In addition to winning the conference title in the last year in the league, the Pirates also set a pair of school records along the way. Senior Erin Tucker posted a new lifetime best and ECU school record time of 8.24 to finish third in the 60-meter hurdles. Junior Dylan Spadaccini set a new standard in the heptathlon as he placed fifth in the event with a total of 4,895 points.
Furthermore, East Carolina also set more than 40 personal-bests and 17 Pirates etched their names into the ECU top 10 record book during the C-USA Indoor Championships.
In the women’s 60-meter dash, Minkins and Tucker earned second and third-place finishes, respectively. Minkins registered a time of 7.40 in the event which was just .01 seconds shy of her personal-best. Tucker’s time of 7.47 was just .04 seconds off of her career-best.
A day after winning the women’s weight throw, junior Kayla Padgett came back and launched a lifetime best heave of 14.72-meters (48-03.50) to place second in the shot put. Her mark moves her into second all-time in the East Carolina record book. She finished ahead of teammates Dana Keister (12.53-meters, 41-01.50), Kelsey Rohrig (12.28-meters, 40-03.50), and Kaylee Redon (12.27-meters, 40-03.25) who placed 12th, 15th and 16th, respectively. Redon’s performance came on the heels of her third-place finish in the weight throw on Friday when she tallied a career-high mark of 17.81-meters, 58-05.25) en route to earning a third team all-conference nod. She now sits in fourth-place all-time at ECU.
In addition to Kanz winning the men’s high jump and earning first team all-conference honors, two other Pirates also collected all-conference accolades for their top-three finishes. Avion Jones, who placed behind Kanz in the high jump, earned a second team honor after notching a mark of 2.15-meters (7-00.50) on Friday. Henry Johnson rounded out the men’s all-conference honorees as the senior earned a second team selection in the pole vault with a clearance of 5.15-meters (16-10.75).
Several of the Pirates will be back in action at the NCAA Indoor Championships beginning Friday, March 14 in Albuquerque, N.M. The top 16 in the nation in each event qualify for competition in the National Championships. Sunday, March 2, is the final day to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships.