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(New Orleans, La.) With 175 points, the Dillard University Lady Bleu Devils track and field team won the 2016 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championship. Southern University at New Orleans came in second place with 159 points while Xavier University finished in third place with 131 points. Furthermore, Dillard track and field head coach Bobby Williams was named 2016 GCAC Women's Track and Field Coach of the Year. This is the first Lady Bleu Devils track and field championship since 2012.
"To God be the glory for everything! The women really did an outstanding job," said Coach Williams. "They fought hard and being ranked nationally all season kept them motivated, so we didn't want to get to conference and lose, so we began to strategize as we got closer to conference."
The Lady Bleu Devils 4x1 relay team, comprised of Kaitlyn Fortuna (JR/New Orleans, La.), Tajdreana Hurst (FR/Katy, Texas ), India Ware (JR/Missouri City, Texas) and Megan Reed (SO/Thibodaux, La.) finished third behind SUNO and Xavier, posting a time of 47.07 while the women's 4x4 squad, including Hurst, Reed, Fortuna and Kahlia Columbus (FR/Houston, Texas) picked up a second place finish with a time of 3:53.86.
Hurst continued her sensational freshman campaign with a first place finish in the women's long jump, leaping a distance of 5.44 meters while teammate Ware picked up a first place finish in the women's pole vault with a height of 2.15 meters. Dillard swept the event as they gained points by placing in the top three slots; Hurst and teammate Sasha Newman (SO/Antioch, Calif.) tied for second with a height of 2 meters.
Newman also dominated the hurdles, picking up a first place finish in the women's 100 meter hurdles, posting a time of 15.03 while earning a second place finish in the women's 400 meter hurdles with a time of 1:01.20. Teammate Stephanie Coates (FR) finished shortly after, pickup up a fourth place finish while Hurst followed right behind for a fifth place finish.
Senior Danielle Glover (SR/Bossier City, La.) broke her own previous GCAC record in the women's hammer throw with a distance of 33.81 meters, which was good for first place, and she also performed well in the women's shot put, picking up a third place finish with a distance of 10.92 meters.
In the women's 800 meter run, senior Dominique Hardin (SR/Apple Valley, Calif.) finished second with a time of 2:26.79 while Hydeia Barney (FR) earned a fifth place finish, posting a time of 2:33.71. Hardin also produced a third place finish in the women's 1500 meter run despite leading almost the entire race.
"We knew some of our ladies are versatile in what they can do and some ladies learned how to do events that they never did before. 'Selfless' was the word I kept preaching to them!" exclaimed Coach Williams. Sacrifice your feelings, wants, and be about the team and we can win and they did just that and I am so happy for them."
Fortuna had a solid afternoon as well, not only flexing her muscles in both 4x1 and 4x4 relay squads but also picking up a second place finish in the women's 400 meter dash, posting a time of 56.20 as well as a third place finish in the women's 200 meter dash with a time of 24.86. Teammate Joycelyn Daggs (JR/Thibodaux, La.) also performed at a high rate, picking up a second place finish in the women's long jump (finished behind Hurst) and a third place finish in the women's triple jump, leaping a distance of 10.98 meters.
For a full list of today's results, click here.
*Photos provided by Amos Morale III, NOLA.com