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Eagle track and field wins SoCon

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          BOONE, N.C. – After finishing as the runner-up to Appalachian State for the past four years, Georgia Southern’s track and field team finally achieved their first Southern Conference Outdoor Championship, accruing 223.5 points at the ASU Track at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, N.C.
        On Saturday, Georgia Southern accumulated 47.5 points and finished the day in first place.  Senior Nicole Brown won the team’s first title with a 20’5” Long Jump performance, while other members of the team secured seven top-three seeds (three first place) in five preliminary events.
        Freshman Jessica Irizarry had also achieved a title for Georgia Southern on the first day, throwing the top distance of 134’4” in the Javelin, however the results for the event were not announced until Sunday.
        Opening day two of the championships, senior Lauren Jacobs, junior Serenity Thompson and freshman Melanie Trumbo dominated the Heptathlon event, coming in second (4390), third (4155) and fourth (4029), respectively.
        In the 400m, senior Rashedah Arnold set a GSU record, clocking in at 54.84 and taking second place.  Junior Carla Ballard crossed the finish line one second behind Arnold (55.84), claming third.  Ballard also had a top finish coming in at the runner-up spot in the 400m Hurdles, with a new career best of 1:01.56.
        Senior Brittany Chase and junior Amber Wilson finished back-to-back in the 100m Hurdles, with Chase obtaining a third title for the Eagles (13.92) and Wilson coming in second (14.08).
        Re-setting two of her own school records, Brown accumulated the crown in the 100m with an NCAA Regional qualifying time of 11.51, and in the 200m, clocking in at 23.81. Her fourth and final title was secured with a 42’5.5” Triple Jump performance.
        Brown was later joined by Arnold, Ballard and newcomer Shauntel Jennings to compete in the 4x400m Relay.  After running a 3:41.68, the group not only claimed first place, but also topped both the GSU and the Southern Conference record books in the event.
        Other top-three Eagle finishers were junior Monique Pitts, who took second in the Discus (134’5”), and senior Emily Greeson with a Shot Put distance of 43’11.75”, obtaining third.  Arnold, Brown, junior Shamyria Ortiz and sophomore Tierra Watts came in second in the 4x100m Relay with a time of 46.03.
        All in all, GSU accumulated seven titles (six individual, one relay), set five school records, set a Southern Conference record, achieved 14 career bests, named 13 individuals to the All-Conference list, Irizarry was named SoCon Freshman of the Year, Brown received the Track Athlete of the Year award and head coach Natalie Smith was honored as the 2007 Women’s Coach of the Year.
        “I have never wanted something as bad, as I wanted the title for this team” said Smith.  “The girls have been going at it for two days.  They laid it on the line, from start to finish, and there was no stopping them.  They were true representatives of Georgia Southern and I’m so proud of them... What really put us ahead was that each one of these girls competed for each other, pulling one another through.  They were truly a team this weekend… This experience was truly a blessing and I thank God for it.”
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