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(Geneva, Ohio) Freshman, Anita Souza arrived at Cornerstone University on New Year's Day ready to begin the Indoor Track & Field season. Her eagerness evolved into frustration as it took four more weeks for the NAIA to clear her for eligibility. An early morning wake up call, just two hours before the bus left for the SPIRE Midwest Indoor T&F Open, brought Souza to Larry Bos' office to sign her eligibility certificate.
The good news meant Souza would celebrate her birthday on Saturday in the starting blocks for CU. Moments before the 60 meter hurdle prelims, coach Rod Wortley approached Anita in the staging area, "She was excited and nervous," said Wortley, "she held up her had to show me it was shaking. She didn't need any advice on how to hurdle, but as anxious as she was, I told her to make sure to wait for the gun."
Souza got a fair start then aggressively attacked the five hurdles. The 2011 Brazilian under-23 Champion hit the finish line as the next competitor was clearing the last hurdle. Her time of 8.83 broke the CU record of 8.87 set last year by Amy Boyer and was well under the NAIA automatic qualifying standard of 9.20. Three hours later Souza improved her record to 8.70 taking second in the finals to Ventura Brooklyn from the University of Buffalo and putting her second on the NAIA performance list.
Two other school records fell at the meet. Friday evening the distance medley relay of Julia Contreras, Lauren Pierce, Julie Oosterhouse and Jill Louisignau broke the old mark of 12:29.68 set by Becca Wright, Samantha Smith, Amy VanderSloot and Andi Owens in 2008. Their time of 12:26.17 was good for 5th place and qualifies the DMR for NAIA Nationals for the 7th year in a row.
Oosterhouse returned to the track Saturday to take seventh in the 800 meters. Julie added the school record to the freshman record she set two weeks earlier. Her time of 2:18.37 was just under the mark of 2:18.94 set by Andi Ripley in 2010 and the NAIA automatic standard of 2:19.00.
Souza joined Oosterhouse, Pierce and Larissa Hampton to end the meet with a provisional qualifying mark in the 4 x 400 relay, clocking 4:00.94 to win their heat and finish fifth overall.