Lovely Sprint Double Leads Red Storm Track & Field In Armory Debut

Sophomore Veronica Thompson has won the 800-meter run at all three of the Red Storm's meets so far this season.

Jan. 19, 2014

NEW YORK, N.Y. – An impressive sprint double by senior captain Rikka Lovely highlighted a successful outing for the St. John’s women’s track & field team at the NYU Saturday Night Shootout on Jan. 18 in the Red Storm’s New Balance Armory Track & Field Center season debut.

Lovely was one of four St. John’s athletes to win an individual event and the Red Storm capped its first of five trips to the NYC Armory this season by winning the 4x400-meter relay in a seasonal best time of 3:46.70.

“It was an exciting evening for our team at the Armory as Rikka Lovely sparked in the short sprints and Claire Mooney, Veronica Thompson and Danette Hinton joined her in the winner’s circle,” said St. John’s head coach Jim Hurt. “Rikka, Claire, Pariis Garcia and Shayna Presley closed out the night in fitting fashion with a spectacular win in the 4x400-meter relay. We are looking forward to returning to the Armory in two weeks to challenge for the Metropolitan title.”



Lovely turned in two of the best sprinting performances in school history in securing her double at Saturday’s meet. She won the 60-meter dash finals in 7.53 seconds, just 0.02 off her personal best and a considerable 0.14 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, before claiming the 200-meter dash title in 24.35 seconds, 0.36 seconds in front of her closest competitor. Since 2004, only two Red Storm student-athletes have run faster times at either distance. Lovely also posted the fastest time in the preliminary round of the 60, running 7.63 seconds. St. John’s had two of the top-5 places in the 200 as sophomore Shenika King finished fourth in 25.34 seconds.

The Red Storm posted more impressive sprinting performances in the 400-meter dash, with junior Claire Mooney claiming the NYU Shootout title in 55.88 seconds, her second sub-56-second clocking of the early season. Not far behind Mooney, senior Shayna Presley crossed the finish line in fourth place, running a personal-best time of 56.66 seconds.

In the 800-meter run, sophomore Veronica Thompson continued her terrific season in claiming the win in 2:15.96. Thompson is now 3-for-3 at the distance, winning titles at the Bill Ward Invitational and Princeton Tri Meet before Saturday’s meet.

St. John’s fifth event win came courtesy of senior Danette Hinton, who won the weight throw competition with a toss of 18.20 meters and took fifth in the shot put with a mark of 11.94 meters.

In the relays, Garcia, Lovely, Mooney and Presley combined to win the 4x400-meter relay in front of the team from California State University, while the team of senior Michelle Duffy, sophomore Stephanie Van Pelt, Thompson and Presley placed took runner-up honors in the 1,600-meter sprint medley.

Van Pelt also finished eighth in the 1,000-meter run in 3:06.34, while freshman Shequell Higgs was ninth in the triple jump with a mark of 10.88 meters and classmate Gabrielle Houston tied for ninth in the high jump with a clearance at 1.50 meters.

The Red Storm will take a weekend off in preparation for the 2014 Metropolitan Indoor Championships staged at Manhattan College and the Armory on Jan. 30-31.


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