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Three Lady Tigers To Compete At 2003 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

Three Lady Tigers To Compete At 2003 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships

June 10, 2003

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Three Lady Tigers will represent Clemson at the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Gisele Oliveira will compete for Clemson at this year’s meet, scheduled for June 11-14 on the campus of Sacramento State University. Costa and Oliveira automatically qualifed for the NCAA Championships, earning top-five finishes at the East Region meet, while Nicholson provisionally qualified for the national meet in the heptathlon at the Orange & Purple Classic.

Senior Joana Costa has saved the best for last, as she cleared a career-best 12’10.25″ in the pole vault at the East Region Championships to place fourth in the meet. Costa’s appearance at the NCAA Championships marks a milestone for Lady Tiger track and field. She is the first pole vaulter in school history to advance to the national meet. The native of Sao Paolo, Brazil, had previously cleared 12’10” in two other meets this season.

She posted that clearance at the ACC Championships, and again at the Penn Relays, where she won the collegiate event. Costa’s career-best mark is only 1/2″ off the school record of 12’10.75″ set in 2001 by Mandy McLane. Costa is a former ACC Champion and four-time All-ACC honoree, and enters the NCAA Championships ranked 25th in the national listings.

Senior Lauren Nicholson achieved her goal of competing at the NCAA Championships, as she tallied 5,200 points to win the Orange & Purple Classic heptathlon and provisionally qualify for the national meet. The native of Marietta, GA, is the second Clemson heptathlete to advance to the national meet. In 1995, Katja Pettinen placed 12th at the NCAA Championships. Nicholson ranks second on the Lady Tigers’ career list behind Pettinen, whose career-best total was 5,321 points accumulated at the Florida Relays in 1995.

At the Orange & Purple Classic, Nicholson posted personal-record performances in three events, including the 200m, long jump and javelin throw. Nicholson earned All-ACC honors this year, placing third with 5,036 points and four personal-record performances (100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 800m). Entering the NCAA Championships, Nicholson is ranked 25th in the heptathlon field.

Despite suffering injuries during her first two years at Clemson, sophomore Gisele Oliveira has rebounded during the outdoor seasons to excel in her quest to top the Lady Tigers’ all-time list. The native of Porto Alegre, Brazil, is the Lady Tigers’ all-time leader in the outdoor triple jump and ranks second in the long jump after enjoying her most successful season at Clemson thus far.

In 2003, Oliveira moved to the top spot in the triple jump, recording a mark of 43’11.75″ at the Penn Relays, then equaled that mark at the Georgia Tech Invitational. She is second on Clemson’s career-list in the long jump with her leap of 20’11.75″ set at the Orange & Purple Classic. At this year’s ACC Championships, Oliveira set the conference meet record in the triple jump with a mark of 43’10” to win the conference title. She also earned All-ACC honors in the long jump, placing second. Last season, Oliveira became only the third Lady Tiger to earn All-America honors in the triple jump, and should she finish in the top eight at this year’s meet, Oliveira would be Clemson’s second All-American in the long jump. She will compete in the long jump and triple jump in 2003, ranking 17th and 10th respectively in those events entering the national meet.

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