HOUSTON – Tulane picked up its first two medals of the weekend and qualified six athletes to Sunday’s finals competition in day two of the American Athletic Conference Outdoor Championships on Saturday afternoon at the Carl Lewis International Complex, as the Green Wave added three personal bests to their weekend total and tallied 21 collective points in the team competitions.
“Today we had a couple of really outstanding final results, and I also feel as though our qualifying efforts went very well. The teams are both is set up nicely to have several opportunities tomorrow on the final day to score points and finish the meet with a strong showing.”
–Director of track & field Eric Peterson
ON THE MEN’S SIDE
Emmanuel Rotich clinched the first conference gold medal of his collegiate career on Saturday night, scoring ten points for Tulane’s men’s team in a thrilling come-from-behind win in the 3,000m steeplechase. Entering the meet as the conference leader in the event, Rotich trailed early but broke out of the pack of his conference foes in the last lap, finishing one second ahead of UConn’s Kyle Barber on a time of 9:21.51. Rotich’s Saturday evening podium finish was Tulane’s first track title since Solomon Kandie won both the 3,000m steeplechase and 1,500m in 2002.
On the day, Rotich also qualified for the men’s 1,500m final with a fourth-place finish in 3:48.03.
“We haven’t had very many men’s titles in the last few years, so Rotich’s victory in the men’s steeplechase is very significant,” Peterson said. “It was a very tactical race and I thought he managed himself well in the pack. In the end, he was able to get away and run to victory, and that was the plan. He also had a good qualifying round in the 1,500m and is set up to go after that title tomorrow as well.”
Tulane saw another first-place effort from Raymond Kibet in the prelims of the men’s 400m dash, coming away with his third sub-46 second finish of the year on a time of 45.90, an American Athletic Conference meet record. Fellow sprinter Devin Glenn fell just short of a finals berth of his own in his first 100m dash since high school, running a time of 10.61 for just one hundredth of a second back from the last finals qualifier.
In the field, Anthony Taylor threw a season-high 15.98m in the shot put for tenth place in the event.
Day two of competition wrapped up with the Tulane men scoring ten points, good for eighth in the conference rankings behind UConn (53), Houston (52), East Carolina (43), Memphis (36), Cincinnati (35), Tulsa (32) and USF (12).
ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE
In the final conference meet of her career, Daliadiz Ortiz added some more hardware to her trio of gold medals, taking home silver in the women’s javelin. Ortiz’s throw of 53.50m broke a school record for the fifth time this year, improving upon her No. 10 national ranking heading into the NCAA East Regional at the end of the month.
“Ortiz was going for her fourth consecutive championship and nearly got it, setting a new lifetime best and school record,” Peterson said. “She is having a great season, and today is the best performance that she’s had since she’s been at Tulane. I know she’s very much looking forward to the rest of the postseason.”
Taylor Potts also closed out her final conference appearance on the afternoon, scoring points for Tulane in the shot put on a throw of 15.44m. Potts has now scored at every conference meet she attended during her time with the Green Wave, both indoor and outdoor.
On the track, the Green Wave qualified four women to finals competition, with sophomore Jessica Duckett once again leading the pack in the 100m hurdles on a time of 13.37, good for another first-place prelims effort. Brandi Hughes would also qualify in the event, coming in seventh on a time of 13.92.
Tulane also saw personal bests from Maya Harewood, placing eighth in the 400m prelims to qualify for the first outdoor final of her career, and Jennifer LaMori, who shaved five seconds off of her previous 1,500m time to qualify for the Sunday final.
At the end of two days of competition, the Tulane women sit in seventh place in the team rankings with 16 points. Cincinnati moved into first on 49 points, followed by Connecticut with 44. East Carolina (40), Houston (37), UCF (27), SMU (26), Memphis (15), Tulsa (12) and USF (6) round out the team rankings.
The Green Wave return to the Carl Lewis International Complex on Sunday for the third and final day of the American Outdoor Championships, beginning with the men’s pole vault at 2:00 and the men’s 4x100m relay at 5:10.
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