Track season ends at championship


UNF track athletes Ecaterina Gheorghiu and Brianna Frazier competed in the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship June 8-11 at the Drake University Stadium Des Moines, Iowa. 

Gheorghiu, a junior, finished with a time of 10:39.70 in the semifinals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase and 23rd in the event overall. This earned the Lasi, Romania native honorable mention All-American recognition.

On the back of a very successful freshman season, Frazier clocked a school record of 52.86 in the semifinals of the 400-meter dash. Despite it being her personal best, she just missed out on qualifying for the finals.

Frazier finished 11th overall and fourth in her heat. Ashley Kelly, from Illinois, claimed the final qualifying place with a time of 52.71 — just 0.15 seconds ahead of Frazier. This performance has earned Frazier second-team All-American honors, becoming the program’s first Division I Track All-American athlete.

Frazier, who won the A-Sun indoor and outdoor freshman of the year, said she isn’t disappointed despite not making the finals.

“My goal was to get a personal record,” she said. “Of course I wanted to make it to the finals, but I’m only a freshman. I still have three more years.”

In terms of her overall season, Frazier said she thinks it went well. She also said her mother and assistant coach, Le’Titia Silas, was a huge help.

“I would get nervous a lot before races,” Frazier said. “She has helped me to improve that, and she works really hard. The time trials in practice have helped a lot, too.”

For the summer, Frazier said she will work on staying focused and in shape.

Although the tournament was drawn out due to rain and lightning, head coach Mark Van Alstyne said he was pleased with his athletes and their performances.

“For Brianna to come in and finish 11th in the nation and be the number three freshman in the nation, I think it would be easy to lose sight of how impressive a performance that is,” he said. “It whets her appetite for next year.”

Van Alstyne said that although Gheorghiu didn’t perform as well as she did in the preliminaries, she will be hungry to get back next year and prove it wasn’t a fluke.

“Her performance in the preliminaries was really unexpected by some people — not by her or I, though,” he said. “The standard of competition at the tournament was unbelievable.
Everywhere you looked, there were athletes of Olympic caliber.”

There isn’t too much rest for the coaching staff and the team, though, Van Alstyne said, as they will be working with strength and conditioning coaches all summer.

“Ten freshman will be arriving for summer B on June 29,” he said. “We’re excited and going to take another step towards winning the A-Sun and hopefully have more athletes competing in nationals next year. We want to be a nationally competitive program.”