Louisville Men, Syracuse Women Lead After Saturday at the Big East Track & Field Championships

May 6, 2006

Storrs, Conn. - The Louisville men\'s team and Syracuse\'s women\'s team lead through the first full day of competition at the 2006 BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championships at the George J. Sherman - Family Sports Complex on the campus of the University of Connecticut. The Cardinals scored 61 points on the men\'s side and lead by 24 points over second-place Notre Dame. Syracuse notched 53 points and lead by 15 over second-place Pittsburgh.

Freshman Tony Belt (pictured and from Berkeley Springs, WV), who entered the event with the No. 4 mark in the country in the high jump, played a major role in the scoring for the Cardinals. He broke the BIG EAST Championship record, which was set in 1982, with a standard of 2.20m. He also broke the school record and posted the third-longest mark in meet history with a conference-winning long jump of 7.83m.

Syracuse senior Johvonne Hernandez led the Syracuse effort and won the second BIG EAST shot put championship of her career with a throw of 15.44m. She also finished second in the discus with a 51.09m toss. Rutgers\' Cycerli Ash, a senior, finished second in the shot put (14.67m) and won the discus event with a 51.09m toss.

Notre Dame senior Molly Huddle put herself on the top of this year\'s NCAA best performance list with a BIG EAST Championship record of 32:37.87 in the 10,000 meter run. The second-place finish of 32:39.59 by Mary Cullen of Providence also broke the previous conference record, which stood at 33:09.67 and was set in 1991 by Carole Zajac of Villanova. An All-American in cross country and in the indoor 5,000m race, Maureen McCandless of Pittsburgh earned all-conference honors with a third-place finish of 34:56.63 in her first time competing in the 10,000m event. Defending 10,000m men\'s champion Rod Koborsi (Sr.) of Georgetown won the 2006 event with a time of 30:11.48.

Georgetown freshman Buky Bamigboye earned 5,410 points in the heptathlon to capture the conference title and set a new BIG EAST Championship meet record, which stood at 5,407. She trailed by 89 points entering the second day of competition, but came back by winning the long jump and was almost 10 seconds faster than the rest of the pack in capturing the 800m. Syracuse sophomore Jillian Drouin was the day one leader and finished second with 5,287 points. Her teammate, sophomore Kaity Lambracht, earned third with 5,095.

Villanova junior Robert McDade came out of nowhere in his final throw in the shot put to win the conference title. He was listed 11th on the conference best performance list entering the event with a mark of 15.43m, but posted a NCAA regional qualifying mark of 17.15m on Saturday. He also was crowned the discus champion with a toss of 57.21m.

Matt Piekarski took home the men\'s decathlon championship with a total of 7,236 points. The senior was trailing Sean Berg of Connecticut by 59 points heading into the final event, but blew away the field with a 4:36.59 in the 1500m run, which was almost seven seconds better than the rest of the group. His career-best total provisionally qualifies him for the NCAA Championships. Berg finished second with 7,178 points, and his teammate, Joseph Staub was third with 6,427.

Senior Ioana Parusheva of Villanova won the conference title in the 3,000m steeplechase and posted the second-best time in the six-year history of the event at 10:14.88. In doing so, she improved upon her personal-best time, which is ranked No. 3 in the NCAA. Villanova also won the men\'s steeplechase, as junior Andrew Keino ran a NCAA regional qualifying time of 9:00.40.

The Pittsburgh women got off to a hot start with three individual titles. For the sixth time in her career, senior Marissa Dudek was crowned BIG EAST Champion in the pole vault; this year\'s title was the third outdoor championship of her career. Her mark of 4.00m was tied her existing school record. Senior Jennifer Hartig of Louisville set a personal and school record with a 3.90m jump, which is also a regional qualifying performance.

In her first time competing during the 2006 outdoor season, Pittsburgh sophomore Angela Hoover captured her first BIG EAST title in the javelin with a school-record throw of 48.78m. Louisville sophomore Holly Geibel was second at 45.56m.

Reigning ECAC triple jump champion Martina Hallman, a sophomore for Pittsburgh, made her mark in the conference long jump competition by taking first place with a jump of 6.18m. Syracuse took second and third in the event: junior Sheron Mark jumped 6.04, senior Tatiana Warren leapt 5.96m.

Sunday will be all finals, beginning at 11:00 a.m. The team champions and runner-ups, most outstanding performers and coaching staffs of the year will be honored in the concluding awards ceremony slated for 2:50 p.m. ET Sunday.

CSTV will be on site throughout Saturday and Sunday\'s events taping the action, which will be condensed to one hour and televised via tape delay on May 15 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Former USA Olympian and two-time bronze medalist in the high jump Dwight Stones will be providing play-by-play commentary. Former Cincinnati middle-distance standout Lewis Johnson will be the analyst.

Complete Men\'s Team Standings
1. Louisville, 61
2. Notre Dame, 37
3. Villanova, 32
4. Cincinnati, 28
5. Connecticut, 27
6. Georgetown, 24
7. Marquette, 21
8. Syracuse, 17
9. USF, 11
10. Rutgers, 11
11. Pittsburgh, 4

Complete Women\'s Team Standings
1. Syracuse, 53
2. Pittsburgh, 38
3. Notre Dame, 33.50
4. Connecticut, 28
5. Rutgers, 28
6. Louisville, 22
7. Georgetown, 22
8. West Virginia, 15
9. St. John\'s, 14
10. Villanova, 12
11. Marquette, 11
11. USF, 11
13. Cincinnati, 8.50
14. Providence, 8
15. Seton Hall, 5
16. DePaul, 3