Graham Earns All-Conference Accolades at BIG EAST Championship
CINCINNATI – After a one-two finish in the women’s javelin to start the day, the DePaul men’s and women’s track and field teams continued to post solid performances at Gettler Stadium during their first day of the BIG EAST Conference Championships. Matthew Graham placed third in the 3,000m steeplechase following a record-setting run, and Alanna Kovacs, Joe Strawder and Tim Nedow placed in the top-five in their events.
Both the men’s and the women’s teams ended the day in sixth place. The men tallied 20 points, just four behind Cincinnati, and the women are just a point-and-a-half behind Notre Dame with 22.
Graham ran an astonishing 19 seconds faster than his previous personal-best to take third place in the 3,000m steeplechase. The sophomore clocked an 8:51.48 de-thrown DePaul Hall of Fame inductee Jim Fox’s 26-year old mark of 8:58.14.
Graham entered the meet as the 11th seed behind a time of 9:10.13.
Joe Strawder scored five points for the men’s squad, following a fourth-place showing in the long jump. He surpassed a distance of 7.43m— the best he has performed this season and just short of his all-time best of 7.44m.
In his four years at the outdoor league championships, the senior has scored points in the long jump for the Blue Demons every season, placing fourth twice, fifth and seventh. Strawder’s best performance at a BIG EAST Championship came last February, when he placed second at the indoor league meet.
Strawder continues action tomorrow in the triple jump.
Tim Nedow tied for third in the shot put, but BIG EAST tiebreaker rules landed the sophomore in fourth place. Nedow hit a mark of 17.37m to surpass the 17-meter plateau for the third time during the 2010 campaign.
Matt Babicz and Jim Theologes finished the day with throws of 15.70m and 14.91m, respectively.
In the women’s discus, Alanna Kovacs set a new PR and in doing so extended her own DePaul record to 48.42m. The sophomore placed fifth overall and was today’s top Blue Demon point scorer with 12. Earlier today, she was the runner-up in the javelin— second only to teammate and two-time BIG EAST javelin throw champion Melissa Fraser.
Kovacs ended her day with a career-best mark in the shot put of 13.60m. She finished in 14th.
Nedow also scored three points for the men’s squad in the discus throw, while Babicz tallied one more in their career-high efforts. Nedow measured two throws over 50-meters including a personal-record 51.11m to place sixth overall. In eighth place, Babicz hurled the discus a distance of 48.13m.
In the women’s 3,000m steeplechase, Terah Cheatham ran a blistering 10:48.31 to record her first sub-11 minute performance. The senior finished in 11th place.
Mary Cate Quiet, the 2010 Indoor 800m BIG EAST Champion will get the opportunity to make the sweep in tomorrow’s finals. She won her heat in a time of 2:07.84 to qualify second overall. Keri Bland of West Virginia clocked the day’s fastest time, with a mark of 2:05.71.
Also making his way through today’s preliminary rounds was Tonderai Tomu, who competed in the 400m. The sophomore, who joined the team in January, posted a time of 48.03 to earn the fifth seed in championship race tomorrow afternoon.
In the women’s 400m preliminary, Lindsey Holden had a career-best effort, crossing the finish line at the 55.47 mark. She placed third in her heat, and ninth overall. Only the top-eight move on to the finals.
Kelcie Daniels set a new personal record in the 400m hurdles, placing 11th overall with a time of 1:02.04.
Running in the 800m with Quiett was Toni Salvatore, who set a personal-best time of 2:13.81.
Ivy Moffett, who qualified for an individual event for the first time this season, saved her best long jump for her final pass, and recorded a distance of 5.26m
Greg Udzielak opened the running events of the day for the Blue Demons, and recorded a 1,500m time of 4:04.46.
In the men’s 800m prelims, Edin Pasalic held the lead on the back stretch but settled for a time of 1:58.09. He will not advance to tomorrow’s final.
DePaul continues it’s run at the Championship tomorrow, May 2, beginning with 9 a.m. (CST) with Brad Millar in the men’s hammer throw.