According to a press release from the University of South Alabama, two school records, one old, one set earlier this season, were broken by a pair of sophomores when the University of South Alabama Men's and Women's Track and teams competed over the weekend at the War Eagle Invitational hosted by Auburn at Hutsell-Rosen Track.
One week after coming up less than a second shy of surpassing the school standard in the women's 1,500 meters set by Laura Martin in 1987, Laura Labuschaigne accomplished the feat Friday night after crossing the line in 4:24.50. She finished fifth in the invitational race, having shaved more than eight seconds off her first time in the event recorded at the John Mitchell Alabama Relays March 17.
Ashley Heitling broke her own school mark set March 31 at the Pepsi Florida Relays, ending up fifth in the women's invitational 5,000-meter run with a time of 16:51.50. Teammate Joanna McCoy was next across the line in the race, and with a personal-best 16:54.52 time joined Heitling as the only individuals in program history to record a mark below 17 minutes.
In a race that saw all 12 competitors cross the line in a seven-second stretch, Christoph Graf and Patrick Rohr posted career-best marks in the men's invitational 1,500-meter run. The former came in fourth place with a time of 3:45.12 missing entering the top five all-time at USA by .9 seconds. The latter was seventh after being clocked in 3:46.65. Graf would go on to add a season-best mark in the 800 meters, crossing the line in 1:53.17 to place sixth.
On Saturday Katleho Dyoyi moved into fifth on the program's all-time performance list in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase, winning the race by a second-and-a-half margin after finishing in 9:00.79.
"We've been really patient making sure that we will be ready when it matters the most as far as training goes, they are now starting to turn the corner and getting out of it what they've put into it the last month or so," Jaguar assistant coach David Barnett commented. "Workouts have been going well and everybody has been able to stay healthy. This weekend was one of those that you work toward; I think this is an inkling of what's to come for them. With Christoph being our top point scorer most of the time, it was really important to me that he had a big race being that he was sick earlier in the season. The faster you get the harder it is to set a PR, so I think this will set him up for regionals and give himself a chance to get to nationals with that time."
Mark Watts was runner-up in the men's 400-meter dash. The race included 27 competitors with a time of 47.98 seconds. Robert King was second in a field of 20 in the men's javelin, with a throw of 61.31m on his third attempt, while Kayla Carlile placed second out of 17 individuals in the women's pole vault after clearing 3.85m. Megan James was fifth in the latter event as well after recording a mark of 3.70m.
In the men's pole vault, Niel Giliomee was fourth and Ty Holenbeck came in eighth after clearing 5.05m and 4.75m, respectively, with the latter establishing a new personal best in the process.
Thomas Boyd was the Jags' top finisher in the men's hammer throw, coming in fifth place after recording a mark of 54.43m. In the women's event, Michaela Preachuk surpassed her previous best throw by more than a meter, finishing seventh with a 55.82m mark.
Berron Tyson also recorded a personal best in the men's long jump, collecting a sixth-place finish after a leap of 7.12m, while Phoebe Dowson came in seventh in the women's discus with a season-best 46.95m mark. Rafael Scott added an eighth-place result in the men's 200 meters after posting a time of 21.31 seconds, and Matt Weinhold also came in eighth in the men's shot put following a career-long 15.15m effort.
USA will wrap up the regular season on Saturday, April 30, at the MSU Invitational hosted by Mississippi State.
For more information about South Alabama athletics, check back with www.usajaguars.com, and follow the Jaguars at www.twitter.com/USAJaguarSports. Season tickets for all Jaguar athletic events can be purchased by calling (251) 461-1USA (1872).