2009 Vanderbilt Commodores Track and Field Team
Vanderbilt Commodores Women's Track and Field team continued showing its bad performance in 2008 season too. Vanderbilt finished 12th at 2008 SEC Outdoor Championships with 7 points.
Vanderbilt Freshman Rita Jorgensen finished 10th in the finals of the 1500 meters AT sec Championships.The team sent two athletes in Freshman Rita Jorgensen and Valerie Kazmer to the 2008 NCAA Mideast Track & Field Regional Championships. Rita Jorgensen finished 10th in the 1500-meter finals and senior Valerie Kazmer finished 16th in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Mideast Track & Field Regional Championships. The head coach of the team is D'Andre Hill.
In May of 2007 the Vanderbilt Commodores track and field team found out their head coach, Lori Shepard, was being released from her contract.
Last Season's Discussion:
While Shepard stayed with the team until June, it is still a difficult process for everyone. The track and field team, composed solely of women, had a very disappointing showing at the Southeastern Conference Championship in 2007 where the team only finished 12th and had the lowest point scoring since 1995.
Shepard joined Vandy as an assistant in 1993 and held that position for seven years before she became the Vanderbilt Commodores track and field head coach in 2001. Under Shepard the team had varying degrees of success with Ryan Tolbert being a three-time Southeastern Conference champion and the team's only national champion in the 400m hurdles. In addition there were former athletes of the team Josie Hahn and Garnette Holloway who earned Southeastern Conference outdoor titles.
In June there were four Vanderbilt track and field athletes who participated in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with hopes to qualify for the Mideast Regionals. Garnette Holloway, who is a fifth year senior, participated in the javelin throw, and Ashleigh Wetzel ran in the 300m steeplechase.
A sophomore for the Vanderbilt Commodores track and field team, Carmen Mims, competed in the 5,000. Also competing in the 5,000 was Erika Schneble, who was awarded an All-American honor and finished in 8th place at her last NCAA competition in 2004.
When all was said and done at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship Mims ended up placing 8th in the 5,000m race and beat her personal best by 20 seconds with a time of 16:29.59, just short of earning an NCAA berth. While Schneble and Mims were running the same speed for most of the race until the two-mile mark when Molly Huddle, a Notra Dame Senior, pushed the other competitors.
Commodores track and field team member Schneble found it difficult to maintain her position and ended the race with a 16:38.80 time. Mims missed earning the NCAA berth by four seconds and there was only one other Southeastern Conference competitor that topped Mims in the race.
The other NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship competitors from Vanderbilt Commodores track and field team had their own degree of success under distance coach Steve Keith. Ashleigh Wetzel ran the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of 11:21.56 and a 26th place finish, which resulted in the Vanderbilt Commodores track and field athlete to not advance.
Holloway finished 17th in the javelin, though her distance was a disappointment at 134'9", especially when only two weeks before, at the Southeastern Conference Championships, Holloway had a distance of 145'.
The Vanderbilt F&F team didn't have an impressive showing at this year's competition, but next year holds a great deal more hope with the contemplation of a new head coach.
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