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Buccaneers win six events and break a school record at the Louisiana Classics

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NEW ORLEANS – The opening weekend for the University of New Orleans track and field team could not have gone much better. Over two days in Lafayette, the Privateers won a combined six events with 20 top-five finishes at the Louisiana Classics. UNO also set 13 personal bests and a new school record in the men’s triple jump.

Things couldn’t have started better for New Orleans on Friday, with first places in three of the four events. Ariana Jimenez started off by winning the 3000 meter steeplechase (10:51.82) – her second win at the Louisiana Classics after last year’s victory in the 1500 meter dash. Kolyn Saltzman lined up next, completing the steeple sweep in 9:24.97 – the second straight Louisiana Classics steeplechase win for the New Iberia native. Jaden Forester set a new personal best with a time of 14:38.75 during his 5K victory to cap off Friday night for the Privateers.

In the only event the Privateers didn’t win on Friday night – the women’s 5K – they all took second (Tshwanelo Maruping – 17:12.89), third (Alexandra Weir – 17:29.48) and fourth (Anna Martin 17:30,87) to take home four new personal bests.

Saturday’s first place finishes continued to pile up for the Privateers with Kelvin Chiku, Helen Baumgarten and Jayden Sloan all taking their events to the top. Chiku, second after the first lap, turned on the Jets and won the men’s 1500 with a time of 3:53.95. Baumgarten dominated the 400m hurdles to win in a time of 1:05.16 – two seconds faster than Reagen West of Southland foe McNeese. Sloan took the last first place for the Privateers after beating ULM’s Brandon Lewis by about two-tenths of a second in the 400m hurdles.

Later that afternoon, Nicholaus Smith broke the Privateers’ record for the outdoor triple jump with a jump of 14.68m – more than two meters longer than the previous record set by Tyroy Lanus (12.57m), who competed at the Louisiana Classics that year was set up in 2018. Dante Scott was close to breaking that record with a jump of 12.43 m.

Other personal bests from the privateers include Oxana Bonjorn-Giros who finished the 3000m steeplechase in 11:03.14 – good for third place, Martin who finished the 800m in 2:19.85, Cade Litolff who finished the 800m in 1:54.90 – good for second place, Alex Soileau finished the 800m in 2:02.23 and the 5K in 15:15.35, Gary Sandrock finished the 1500m in 4:09 .02, Holly Hedrick finished the women’s 5K in 18:45.73 and Smith finished the long jump with a mark of 14.68m – Good for third place.


“I am very satisfied with our weekend! We knew the weather wasn’t going to be ideal today so my challenge to the group was to be purposeful with our events throughout the day and they worked really well! We’ve come away with several wins and momentum is very important as we’re going into some big races soon.”

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