Denk, Bustamante notch wins

March 24, 2018

Black & Gold Invitational Complete Results
NASHVILLE – Pole vaulter Kristen Denk and middle distance runner Reagan Bustamante notched individual wins and distance runner Kacie Breeding produced a huge personal record to highlight Commodore performances Saturday during the second day of action at the Black and Gold Invitational.

Denk, a redshirt sophomore from North Royalton, Ohio, continued her momentum from indoor season, easily capturing the pole vault competition. Bustamante, a sophomore from Springfield, Va., notched her second win of the weekend with an impressive 800 meters. Breeding, a sophomore from Chadds Ford, Pa., didn’t earn an individual win but was extremely impressive with a runner-up result in the 2,000-meter steeplechase.

Steve Keith’s Commodores started the outdoor season strongly at the Black & Gold Invitational, held on campus at the Vanderbilt Track and Field Complex. The team earned three individual wins, produced numerous personal-bests and showed solid distance depth.

Denk, who finished sixth in the pole vault at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships, continued to display excellent form. She became the No. 2 Commodore all-time outdoors with a winning clearance of 13-3.50 (4.05 meters). She missed on three attempts at 13-8.25.

Denk, along with sophomore teammate Caleigh Lofstead who finished in a tie for third place, will take aim this spring at the Commodores’ all-time outdoor record of 14-0.5 set last year by All-SEC performer Sarah Bell.

Bustamante put together a superb two-day effort. After winning the 1,500 meters Friday, Bustamante came back Saturday to score a win in the 800 meters. Bustamante’s winning time of 2:12.81 was pedestrian, but she sealed the race by running a 62-second closing 400.

Breeding showed ability and heart in the 2,000-meter steeplechase. The sophomore took 36 seconds off her previous best at the distance, finishing powerfully in 7:01.23.

In another distance highlight, junior Sara Tsai was impressive in the 3,000-meter run. Running outdoors for the first time in nearly two years, Tsai led a large Commodore contingent with a second-place finish in 9:50.39.

“We needed to flip the switch from indoors to outdoors and get into more of a competitive frame of mind and I think we did that. We can build off this meet,” Keith said.

“I’m pleased that Kristen (Denk) performed like she did and the time on Reagan’s 800 wasn’t anything special, but her big negative splits doing it sure were. I’m happy for Kacie because she’s worked very hard and that’s exactly the effort we wanted to see from Sara Tsai,” Keith added.

Several Commodores were just off Tsai’s pace, including third-place finisher Megan Huebner (9:51.93), fifth-place finisher Mailin Struck (9:54.45) and sixth-place finisher Maddie Criscione (9:56.88).

In other action, freshman Sophia Falco finished seventh in the long jump with a leap of 17-11.75 (5.48 meters) and eighth in the 100 meters with a time of 12.24.

The Commodores will return to action March 29-31 at the Florida Relays in Gainesville.

Vanderbilt Day 2 Results at Black & Gold Invitational
100 meters – 8. Sophia Falco 12.24.
800 meters – 1. Reagan Bustamante 2:12.81. 6. Ginger Hutton 2:16.03.
3,000 meters – 2. Sara Tsai 9:50.39. 3. Megan Huebner 9:51.93. 5. Mailin Struck 9:54.45. 6. Maddie Criscione 9:56.88. 8. Gillian Mortimer 10:00.17. 9. Devon Grisbaum 10:03.68. 14. Caroline Pietrzyk 10:14.59. 20. Reagan Anderson 10:22.30. 24. Anna Grace Morgan 10:30.21.
2,000-meter steeplechase – 2. Kacie Breeding 7:01.23.
Long jump – 7. Sophia Falco 5.48m (17-11.75).
Pole vault – 1. Kristen Denk 4.05m (13-3.50). T-3. Caleigh Lofstead 3.70m (12-1.50). T-8. Margaret Ollinger 3.55m (11-7.75).