Guided by stellar performances from senior Chelsea Carrier-Eades, the West Virginia track and field team came in fifth place with 72 points to conclude the 2012 BIG EAST Outdoor Championships in Tampa, Fla.
Carrier-Eades, a Buckhannon, W.Va., native, broke her own WVU all-time best mark in the 100-meter hurdles with a 12.93 Sunday and scored 18 individual points for the Mountaineers to lead the team's 40-point effort on the final day of league competition.
A six-time All-American, Carrier-Eades provided 10 team points with a first-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles, beating her former career- and school-best 12.97 set from the 2011 Jesse Owens Classic. The weekend's nationwide results withstanding, the time stands as sixth-best in the country for the event. She also placed second in the 400-meter hurdles for another eight team points in 57.83 seconds, just four tenths of a second off her personal record of 57.48 set at last year's BIG EAST meet.
Junior Chené Townsend also competed well in the 100-meter hurdles with a third-place finish of 13.47 seconds, a second-best personal record following Saturday's 13.44 in the preliminaries, to give WVU six points.
"Chelsea and Chené were so tough in the hurdles with both running lifetime bests," says WVU coach Sean Cleary. "It is a great springboard for both of them to finish the season in a few weeks."
Stormy Nesbit had a strong performance in the triple jump with a career-best distance of 12.61 meters for second place in the field, boosting the team score by another eight points. The 12.61 tops her personal best of 12.51 from the Princeton Invitational and replaces the distance as second-best on the all-time WVU bests list for the event.
"Stormy had a huge weekend," Cleary says. "After struggling all year with little injuries, she put everything together today. Her final jump in the triple was clutch to put her into the lead. She tied for the win, but lost by virtue of her second-best leap."
The 4x100 relay foursome of Townsend, Carrier-Eades, Nesbit and Shakiyla Cosby gave the team four points with a fifth-place finish in 46.16 seconds, a season-best time.
High jumper Sydney Cummings earned three team points with a sixth-place finish in the event at 1.73 meters, just short of her 1.75 personal best. Discus thrower Heather Adams also earned a team point with an eighth-place throw of 43.98 meters. Freshman Karissa Knabenshue threw the discus 42.89 meters for 11th place to top her personal best of 41.61 meters. The distance moves her from fourth to third on the WVU all-time best distances list for the event ahead of Brittany Fink's 42.31 from 2010.
Louisville won the BIG EAST team title for a second consecutive year with 104 points, followed by Notre Dame (99.5), host USF (84) and Cincinnati (81). WVU topped Pitt (66), Georgetown (61), Villanova (60.5) and seven other league foes.
"We're very pleased with how this weekend worked out," Cleary says. "We limped into this meet in certain events, but the efforts of the entire team allowed for a great finish. It was a complete team effort. We had contributions by sprinters, jumpers, vaulters, throwers and distance runners. It might be the first time in program history to have every event area score in the championship. I am very proud of this team."
Select Mountaineers will compete at the Swarthmore Last Chance Meet in Swarthmore, Pa., on Monday, May 14 as a final opportunity to earn a bid to the NCAA East Regional, which takes place May 24-26 in Jacksonville, Fla.
The 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships are set for June 6-9 in Ames, Iowa.