Hinton Golden On Day 1 Of BIG EAST Indoor Championship

Senior Rikka Lovely qualified for Saturday's 60-meter and 200-meter dash finals at the BIG EAST Indoor Championship.

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Feb. 21, 2014

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Senior Danette Hinton won St. John’s first conference track & field title of the new BIG EAST era and the Red Storm qualified 12 athletes for Saturday’s finals to highlight a memorable first day of competition at the 2014 BIG EAST Indoor Track & Field Championship staged at the New Balance Armory Track & Field Center in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.

After six scored events on Day 1, St. John’s sits fifth in the team standings with 25 points, just one point behind Providence and DePaul who are tied for third. Villanova leads the team race with 48 points, followed by Marquette with 37 points. Saturday’s schedule kicks off at 4:25 p.m. with an opening ceremony followed by the finals of the one-mile run. Eleven finals will be contested on Saturday.

Hinton got the Red Storm’s weekend off to the perfect start when she won the weight throw competition with a toss of 18.25 meters, a centimeter off of her seasonal best and conference-leading mark and a full two feet clear of second place. Hinton earned her first conference gold medal after finishing third in the event last season in the team’s highest individual finish, and is St. John’s first individual BIG EAST champion since Priscilla Frederick (high jump) and Molly Ellis (400-meter dash) won titles at the 2011 conference indoor championship meet.

Junior Radiya Buchanan added a second medal to the Red Storm’s Day 1 tally as she claimed bronze in the indoor pentathlon, scoring 2902 points in her best effort of the season.

“I thought we had a very good day,” said St. John’s head coach Jim Hurt. “We got the people we needed to through to the finals and saw many of our student-athletes put forth their best performances of the season so far. Obviously, Danette started us off in winning the weight for us, which was great. For an opening day I don’t think we could have done much better. Now, we have to come back tomorrow and raise the level another notch.”

Inspired by Hinton’s gold-medal performance, the Red Storm put on a dominant sprinting performance the rest of the afternoon, qualifying three student-athletes to the finals of the 60-meter, 200-meter and 500-meter dashes while advancing two more to the final of the 400-meter dash.

In the preliminary round of the 500-meter dash, junior Claire Mooney announced herself as one of the favorites for Saturday’s final as she comfortably won her qualifying heat in 1:13.81. Also running smart races at the distance were junior Nastasya Rodriques and senior Shayna Presley, who booked their spots in the final with times of 1:14.47 and 1:14.94, respectively, a season’s best for Rodriques.

In the short sprints, senior Rikka Lovely posted the second fastest time in both the preliminaries of the 60-meter and 200-meter dashes, qualifying for Saturday’s finals with times of 7.58 seconds and 24.35 seconds, respectively, both just 0.01 seconds off of the top qualifying times. Classmate Corrine Williams will also contest both short-sprint finals after qualifying sixth in 7.76 seconds in the 60-meter dash and sixth in the 200-meter dash in 24.97 seconds, while junior LaTasha Collins qualified eighth in the 60-meter dash with a personal-best time of 7.79 seconds.

In the 400-meter dash preliminaries, the Red Storm posted two of the top three times as sophomore Pariis Garcia continued her breakout season by running 56.80 seconds to qualify second. Not far behind, senior Amber Allen crossed the finish line in 56.98 seconds to qualify third. Allen also qualified for the 200-meter dash final in 25.19 seconds.

St. John’s twelfth qualifier of the day came in the 800-meter run, as sophomore Veronica Thompson finished ninth in a personal-best time of 2:12.57 to secure the last qualifying spot in a loaded field.

In the day’s lone jumping event, freshman Louis Kenyatta had her best effort of the season in reaching 5.35 meters to claim sixth place and three team points for the Red Storm.

Friday’s final event, the distance medley relay, saw the team of sophomores Stephanie Van Pelt, Michelle Van Pelt, senior Michelle Duffy and freshman Christine Oguledo run a seasonal-best time of 12:30.29 to finish eighth and add a point to St. John’s team tally.

To keep up to date on all team news this indoor season, follow on Twitter @StJohnsXCTF and by using the hashtag #stjohnstf. To be added to the St. John’s women’s track & field fans e-mail list send a message to Edouard.boulat13@stjohns.edu with the subject: “St. John’s women’s TF e-mail.”




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