BOISE, Idaho - It wasn't the result that Estefany Cruz wanted, but the freshman was able to represent the Tulane Track and Field program at the NCAA Indoor National Championships on Saturday evening at the Jackson Indoor Track in Boise, Idaho.
Cruz ended her rookie indoor campaign with a trio of fouls on the NCAA's biggest indoor stage, but the mark she left on the Tulane track and field program is un-measureable. After representing her home country of Guatemala in the Pan-Am Games last October, Cruz began her training for the collegiate indoor campaign nearly two months later than most others, but was able to move into the Tulane top-ten in just her second meet as a collegian.
At the Crimson Tide Indoor Opener, Cruz posted a jump of 12.45-meters to pencil her name into fifth on the all-time Tulane indoor list and would post a pair of jumps that moved her name even higher among the all-time greats to wear the Olive and Blue.
Cruz landed 12.68-meters away from the board at the Tyson Invitational, moving her into third on the all-time list, and followed that with a career-best - and Guatemala national indoor mark - of 13.03-meters at the Conference USA Championships. The 5-foot-4-inch dynamo grabbed Second Team All-Conference USA honors with the leap and entered the NCAA Indoor Championships as the 13th seeded jumper in the country.
It was the first time that a Tulane freshman had advanced to the indoor national championships competition since the 1997 campaign when Charlotte Plummer qualified in the 400-meter dash. Cruz was unable to post a successful jump, fouling on all three of her attempts during the prelims, but put her name among the best triple jumpers in the NCAA. Cruz broke a string of three-year absence for Tulane at the NCAA Indoor meet, the last time that TU had someone qualify for the indoor meet was 2008 when Gloria Asumnu advanced in the 60 meter.
The Guatemala City native had progressed so well for head coach Eric Petersonand the Green Wave squad that she had posted personal best jumps in each of her last two competitions. The 13.03-meter leap a the C-USA championships would have been good enough to finish seventh overall, but the rookie will have to wait for the outdoor season for another shot at grabbing a top-ten finish on the highest collegiate stage.
Cruz and her teammates will only have to wait five days before opening the outdoor campaign. The Green Wave will take a trip to the West Coast on March 15-16 to participate in the Aztec Invitational on the San Diego State campus.
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