Connecticut Men, Louisville Women Capture 2011 BIG EAST Titles

VILLANOVA, Pa. - After three days of competition at Jumbo Elliott Track at Villanova Stadium, the Connecticut men and Louisville women captured the 2011 BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championship titles. It is the fourth-straight BIG EAST Women's Outdoor Track & Field title for the Cardinals. Connecticut won its first team title since 2002 and third overall. The Cardinals totaled 117 points to top second-place West Virginia by 10 points on the women's side. Louisville became the second team in BIG EAST history to win four-straight Outdoor championships, and the first since Miami won four consecutive titles from 2001-2004. The Cardinals also are the first team to win both the Indoor and Outdoor titles in the same year since Pittsburgh accomplished the feat in 2005. Louisville did its damage in the field events, claiming four individual titles. Senior D'Ana McCarty led the Cardinals with three event wins to become the 2011 BIG EAST Women's Most Outstanding Field Performer. After winning the hammer throw on Friday and setting a meet record to win the shot put on Saturday, the senior won the discus on Sunday with a toss of 52.72 meters. McCarty helped the Cardinals score 62 points in the hammer throw, shot put and discus combined. Senior Rachel Gehret rounded out the event winners for the Cardinals, claiming her second career Outdoor high jump title. Gehret cleared a height of 1.81 meters to beat out West Virginia senior Katelyn Williams. Gehret also was the high jump champion in 2008 as a freshman. West Virginia had its highest team finish ever at the BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championship, claiming second with 107 points. West Virginia notched five event titles to tie for the most by the program at the BIG EAST Championship. The Mountaineers were boosted by a standout performance by junior Chelsea Carrier, who was named 2011 BIG EAST Most Outstanding Track Performer. Carrier claimed two event titles on Sunday, giving her three for the meet. After winning the long jump on Saturday, Carrier swept the hurdle events on Sunday. The junior set a stadium record in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.07. She followed that with a win in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 57.48, the best time in the BIG EAST this season and 12th-best mark in the country. Carrier also competed in the 4x100 relay and 4x400 relay, helping the Mountaineers finish fourth and third, respectively, in those events. She is the second WVU athlete to earn the award the first since 1996. Led by head coach Sean Cleary, West Virginia also earned Women's Coaching Staff of the Year. Connecticut placed third with 89 points. Senior Trisha-Ann Hawthorne made BIG EAST Championship history, winning two events on Sunday to give her 10 career BIG EAST Outdoor Track & Field Championship titles. The 10 career titles ties her with Seton Hall's Flirtisha Harris and Villanova's Patty Bradley for the most by a BIG EAST athlete. The eight individual titles are the most for a BIG EAST athlete in the history of the championship. Hawthorne completed a four-peat in both the 100 and the 200-meter dash events, becoming the first BIG EAST athlete to win two separate events four years in a row. Her time of 11.31 in the 100 set a stadium record and was just .01 off the BIG EAST Championship record. She followed that by running a BIG EAST season-best time of 23.22 in the 200. On the men's side, Connecticut totaled 141 points to top second-place Notre Dame by eight points. The Huskies claimed both the Indoor and Outdoor team titles for the first time since 2002. Connecticut claimed four event titles en route to the first-place finish.