Feb. 7, 2014
NEW YORK, N.Y. – A trio of personal-best performances and a revision of the program’s all-time indoor top-10 list highlighted the St. John’s women’s track & field team’s first day at the Armory Collegiate Invitational at the New Balance Armory Track & Field Center on Friday.
More than 100 universities and colleges are entered to compete in this weekend’s two-day event, which culminates on Saturday and is one of the most competitive meets on the U.S. indoor schedule. A live stream of Saturday’s session of the Armory Collegiate Invitational will be available on www.ArmoryTrack.com.
“We had a very good day overall and continue to improve each week,” said Red Storm head coach Jim Hurt. “We look to get another great go tomorrow as we compete in six more championship events.”
Sprinter Claire Mooney continued her fine indoor campaign on Friday afternoon with a new personal best of 55.10 seconds in the championship division of the 400-meter dash. On Jan. 11, Mooney clocked a then-personal best time of 55.65 seconds in a third-place showing at the Rutgers Invitational, which ranked her seventh all-time on the school’s indoor list. The junior is still seventh after Friday’s career-best performance although she is now only half a second behind recent graduate and former teammate Molly Ellis, who is sixth all-time at St. John’s with a time of 54.60 seconds.
The Red Storm saw another student-athlete set a personal best in the 400-meter dash as sophomore Pariis Garcia ran 56.14 seconds in the college division preliminary round to place fifth out of 95 athletes and qualify her for the finals. Garcia, who posted a time of 57.87 seconds in the finals, is enjoying a breakout season and has now run personal-best times in the event in back-to-back meets. Also competing in the college division 400-meter dash was senior Amber Allen, who placed 11th in the preliminary round in a time of 56.81 seconds before placing 12th out of 86 finishers in the college division 200-meter dash in 25.25 seconds.
Competing in the championship division of the 500-meter dash, senior Shayna Presley accounted for St. John’s third personal-best performance of the day, clocking in at 1:14.53 to place 10th. Presley bested her previous personal best by 0.49 seconds. In the same event, junior Nastasya Rodriques finished 13th in 1:16.93, a season’s best.
In the semifinal round of the 60-meter dash championship, senior Rikka Lovely ran 7.54 seconds to lower her seasonal best and come within 0.03 seconds of her personal best. Lovely entered the weekend with the best mark in the BIG EAST Conference in the event. In the college division of the 60-meter dash, classmates LaTasha Collins and Maya Lewis posted times of 7.85 seconds and 8.00 seconds, respectively.
In the college division long jump, freshmen Shequell Higgs reached 5.02 meters, classmate Louis Kenyatta 4.98 meters and junior Radiya Buchanan 4.47 meters. Higgs also competed in the 60-meter hurdles, clocking in at 9.64 seconds.