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    NCAA Track And Field Recaps: May 23

    Hearns Dominates In 400m Hurdles

    GREENSBORO, N.C. – Scottie Hearns picked the ideal time to record a personal best.
     
    Thursday at the NCAA East Preliminary at North Carolina A&T, the freshman standout from Meridian, Miss., posted the top time of the day in the qualifying round of the 400-meter hurdles at 50.63. The finals are set for Friday, with the Top 12 advancing to the nationals in Eugene, Ore.
     
    “He’s worked extremely hard to put himself in this position,” MSU coach Steve Dudley said. “And I don’t think we’ve seen the best from him yet.”
     
    Hearns wasn’t the only MSU player to dominate the day, as senior Daundre Barnaby was tops in the 400-meter dash with a season-best time of 45.71. Likewise, the finals in this event are set for tomorrow as well.
     
    “I thought he paced himself well and made the right moves at the right time,” Dudley said.
     
    The Lady Bulldogs saw outstanding advancement as well.
     
    All-American Erica Bougard finished second in the long jump with a personal-best leap of 20-07.00. With her placement, she punched her ticket to the finals in Oregon beginning June 5.
     
    On the track, All-American Jody-Ann Muir placed third in the 400-meter dash at 52.08. Her finals are set for Friday.

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    Kamal Fuller Leads Alabama on First Day of NCAA East Regional Track Meet

    Greensboro, N.C. – Kamal Fuller led the Crimson Tide on day one of the NCAA East Regional at North Carolina A&T State University’s Erwin Belk Track & Field Center at Aggie Stadium. The three day event runs Thursday through Saturday, and represents the qualifying meet for the 2013 NCAA Track and Field Championships that will take place starting June 5 in Eugene, Ore.

    In each event, 48 individuals qualified for the NCAA East and West Regionals, while 24 relay teams were selected for each region as well. That field will be cut in half this weekend and the remaining 24 individuals and 12 relay teams will advance to Eugene, Ore., for the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Overall, Alabama had 27 student-athletes (16 men and 11 women) and two relay teams (4x100 men’s relay and 4x400 men’s relay) qualify for the East Regional.

    Eleven Crimson Tide athletes participated in the first day of competition at the NCAA East Regional. Leading the Alabama charge, Kamal Fuller advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships by finishing tied for sixth in the long jump, recording a best mark of 24 feet, 9 ¾ inches (7.56m). The 2013 Outdoor Championships will mark the fourth trip for Fuller to an NCAA Championships, but will be his first appearance at an outdoor championships.

    The Crimson Tide had three individuals qualify for Friday’s 100-meter quarterfinals. Leading the trio was Diondre Batson, who qualified with a heat-winning time of 10.16. Dushane Farrier (10.37) and Akeem Haynes (10.30) also ran times good enough to qualify for tomorrow’s quarterfinals. In the process, Haynes set a new PR besting his previous time of 10.37 by .07 seconds.

    Junior Yanique Malcolm advanced to tomorrow’s quarterfinals in the 800 meters, by finishing 20th overall, with a time of 2:05.83, less than a second off her personal best of 2:05.32.

    Day two gets underway on Friday with nine Alabama athletes competing in six events, highlighted by a pair of seniors trying to earn their way to Eugene, Ore., with Krystle Schade in the high jump and Alexis Paine competing in the pole vault.

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    Georgia’s Chanice Porter Earns A Trip To NCAA Championship Finals

    GREENSBORO, N.C. --- Georgia true freshman Chanice Porter earned her first invitation to the finals of the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the long jump in Greenville, N.C., on Thursday.

    Georgia also had eight team members advance to quarterfinal rounds in their respective events.  They will compete again in a day or two at the East Prelims.  

    On Friday, junior Elizabeth Tepe, who is coming off her victory at the Southeastern Conference Championships, will compete in the hammer throw at 10 a.m.  Freshman Shaunae Miller will be the first Bulldog on the track after advancing to the 400-meter dash quarterfinals on Thursday.  Miller will run at 6 p.m.

    “Overall, we did a nice job today and got some good things done,” said head coach Wayne Norton.  “Our objective was to make it to the next round in whatever event we were competing in and not necessarily do anything spectacular.  We now have to turn around and have days like this over the next two days and we’ll be in good shape.”

    The top 12 finishers in either in the quarterfinal or semifinal rounds (depending on the event) at the East Prelims or West Prelims (Austin, Texas) advance to the finals of the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 5-8.

    Porter had a second jump that measured 20 feet, ¼ inches to take 10th in the long jump prelims.  The 2013 SEC indoor champion now becomes the fourth Georgia team member who will travel to Eugene to compete.  She joins decathletes Maicel Uibo and Garrett Scantling and heptathlete Lucie Ondraschkova.

    “I have to commend Chanice on the job she is doing and has done this year with a lingering ankle injury,” said Norton.

    In the prelim rounds, Miller flew to the fourth-fastest time in the country this year (51.84) in the 400 to cruise into the quarterfinals.  Already boasting the 2013 NCAA indoor title in the event, Miller won her heat by nearly a second with the fastest qualifying time.  The Bahamian advanced to the 400 finals at SECs, but did not run in the finals after a minor foot injury.

    Sophomore Drew Branch automatically advanced to the quarterfinals of the 400 hurdles after taking second in the second heat with a 52.25.  This was his third-best time of the season.  Branch will race at 7:45 p.m. on Friday night.

    Coming off her first SEC title, sophomore Carly Hamilton clocked a 4:17.73 in the 1500 to also be second in her heat and automatically qualify.  Hamilton set a school record in the event (4:12.15) earlier this year at the Drake Relays before finishing first in Columbia, Mo., at the conference meet.  Hamilton takes the track again on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

    Sophomore Tynia Gaither advanced in the 100 at her first NCAA East Prelims.  Gaither was third in her heat to qualify automatically with a personal-best time of 11.42.  This is the eighth-best time in school history for the Kissimmee, Fla., native.  She will return to action on Friday at 6:30 p.m. before running in the opening round of the 200 at 8 p.m.

    “We knew she had this type of performance in her, she just hadn’t run many 100s this year,” said Norton.

    Also in the 100, freshman Briana Vaughn failed to make the finals by five spots after crossing the finish line in 11.63.  This was the 29th-best time of the prelims.

    On the men’s side, junior Johnathan Smith qualified automatically in the 100 after crossing the finish line third in his heat.  With a 100 time of 10.20 already on his resume this season, Smith registered a time of 10.34 and will now be racing in the quarterfinals at 6:45 p.m. on Friday.

    Junior Megan Malasarte clinched her trip to the 800 quarterfinals after winning her heat by more than a second.  Malasarte clocked a 2:04.50 after earning runner-up honors at the SEC Championships.  The Fayetteville, Ga., native advanced to the finals of the NCAA Championships in 2012 and was a First Team All-American after taking seventh.

    The Bulldogs had a pair of quarterfinal qualifiers in the men’s 800.  Sophomore Charles Grethen won the sixth heat after registering a time of 1:49.35 during his first team running for Georgia.  His freshman teammate Kisean Smith grabbed the 24th and final qualifying spot in the 800 after recording his second 1:50 in as many meets.  Smith was sixth out of eight runners in his heat but qualified for the next round on Friday at 7:15 p.m. after having one of the six non-automatic qualifying finishes.

    A third Bulldog, senior Daniel Grass, narrowly missed out on the quarters after taking fourth in his heat with a time of 1:50.46.  He had the 28th-best time of the day.

    Junior Burke McCarty, who advanced to the 2012 NCAA Championships in the discus, finished 25th this year in the prelims after reaching a top mark of 167-11 on his third throw.  The 12th and final qualifying spot for the NCAA Championships finals was reached with a throw of 178-9.

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    LSU TRACK & FIELD TEAMS ADVANCE FIVE TO NCAA SEMIFINALS ON DAY 1 IN GREENSBORO
     
    GREENSBORO, N.C. – The LSU Track & Field teams enjoyed an outstanding day of qualifying in Thursday’s opener at the 2013 NCAA East Preliminary Rounds as five Tigers and Lady Tigers earned their spot in the NCAA semifinals with their effort in field-event action held at Irwin Belk Track on the campus of North Carolina A&T University.
     
    An additional 12 athletes advanced to national quarterfinals to be run on the track on Friday as the 100-meter dash, 400-meter dash, 800-meter run and 400-meter hurdles on Day 2 in Greensboro.
     
    Seniors Damar Forbes and Brittany Porter each earned their spot in the national semifinals for the men’s and women’s long jump, while seniors Joseph Caraway and Thomas Reinecke advanced in the men’s pole vault and sophomore Rodney Brown punched his ticket to Eugene, Ore., in the men’s discus throw.
     
    The semifinal and final rounds of the 2013 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships will run June 5-8 at Oregon’s Hayward Field in just two weeks. The Top 12 finishers for each open and relay event here at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds will earn the right to compete for a national championship in their season finale in Eugene.
     
    “This meet is all about doing what you need to do to make it to the next round. I thought both our teams did a great job of that today,” said LSU head coach Dennis Shaver. “We got off to a fast start today with Rodney and Damar making it through in some early field events, and really just continued that throughout the afternoon and into the evening with the events we had on the track.”
     
    Brown got the ball rolling for the Tigers with a runner-up finish in the men’s discus in the first event of the meet as he is set to make his first career semifinals appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
     
    Brown took an early lead in the competition by throwing a series-best of 192 feet, 5 inches on his second attempt of the third flight to lock up a coveted Top 12 spot for qualification in the NCAA semifinals. He dropped back into second place overall when Rutgers standout James Plummer posted a leading mark of 201-0 in the third round for the top throw of the day.
     
    Brown is poised to become the fifth LSU Tiger in program history to earn All-America honors in the men’s discus throw and the first in 15 seasons since Alex Forst during the 1998 season. The Tiger sophomore ranks No. 3 in the NCAA rankings this season with his personal best of 206-3 set in a runner-up finish at the Texas Relays on March 30.
     
    Forbes joined Brown in the national semifinals as he followed his teammate with a fourth-place finish in the men’s long jump after posting a top wind-aided mark of 25-0 ½ on his opening jump.
     
    Like Brown, Forbes took the early lead with his opening jump of 25-0 ½w and held strong in third place heading into the finals after he was overtaken by Virginia Tech’s Jeff Artis-Gray with a wind-aided 25-8 ¼ and Ohio State’s Mike Hartfield jumped 25-1 ¾ in the second round. While passing his final three jumps, Forbes dropped into fourth place after East Tennessee State’s Tyler Stepp jumped 25-6 ¾ on his final attempt.
     
    Forbes, the reigning SEC Outdoor champion, has his eye on a first career national championship as the NCAA’s No. 1-ranked long jumper for 2013 after taking the conference crown with a career-best wind-aided effort of 27-4 ½ in the SEC final. Forbes has won the NCAA silver medal in the event in each of the last four NCAA Championships between the indoor and outdoor seasons.
     
    Porter will join Forbes in the long jump field in Eugene as she secured her spot in the national semifinals with an eighth-place finish in women’s qualifying on Thursday.
     
    Porter, who was the No. 28-ranked long jumper on the women’s side entering the meet, won the second flight and advanced to the final in sixth place overall with a wind-aided mark of 20-1 on her second attempt for the preliminary round. She was only passed by two other jumpers in the final three rounds while finishing in eighth place to advance to the NCAA semifinals for the second-straight season.
     
    Two Tiger seniors are also set to make their first semifinals appearance in the men’s pole vault as Caraway and Reinecke were among 12 vaulters in the field clearing the bar at 17-2 ¾. Reinecke took just one attempt to clear 17-2 ¾ and tie for fifth place, while Caraway went up and over the bar on his second attempt to punch their ticket to Eugene.
     
    “We had a number of athletes step it up today to put our teams in a good position as we continue here this weekend,” Shaver said. “Getting five through to the semifinals in the field events is big for our team once we go to Eugene, and of course, we advanced well on the track today. That will give us a great opportunity to add to our numbers when we come back tomorrow.”
     
    Thursday’s opening day of competition at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds also featured eight Lady Tigers and four Tigers advancing to the quarterfinal rounds of their respective events to run on Friday afternoon.
     
    Juniors Nikita Tracey and Shana-Gaye Tracey and sophomore Chanice Chase each advanced to Friday’s quarterfinal in the women’s 400-meter hurdles with their performance in Thursday’s opener on the track.
     
    Nikita Tracey led the way as the third-fastest heat winner of the day with a strong run of 57.73 seconds to advance to her first NCAA quarterfinal. Chase claimed automatic qualification as the third-fastest finisher in the third heat with a time of 58.97, and Shana-Gaye Tracey advanced on time after running 58.82 for fourth place in the fifth preliminary heat.
     
    The Tigers and Lady Tigers then turned up the heat in the first round of the 100-meter dash as five of their six athletes earned their lane in Friday’s quarterfinals at Irwin Belk Track.
     
    They were led by three heat winners for the evening as senior Kimberlyn Duncan raced to the finish line in 11.23 (+1.7) to win the second heat and junior Takeia Pinckney matched her seasonal-best wind-aided time of 11.41 (+2.3) to win the sixth heat of the women’s 100 meters and sophomore Aaron Ernest sped across the finish line in 10.21 (+1.9) to win the first heat of the men’s 100 meters and advance to the quarterfinals.
     
    Juniors Shermund Allsop (10.43) and Toshika Sylvester (11.57) each grabbed the last qualifying spot into the quarterfinals of both the men’s and women’s 100 meters with fifth-place finishes in their respective heats.
     
    Tiger freshman Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake also raced to a wind-legal PR of 10.43 (+1.3) for fourth place in the fourth men’s heat, but fell just short of Allsop’s qualifying time for the men’s quarterfinal.
     
    Sophomore Quincy Downing and freshman Darrell Bush then joined their teammates in the quarterfinals of the men’s 400-meter dash as Downing nearly matched his lifetime PR in the event and Bush was strong in his NCAA Championships debut in the 400 meters. Downing clocked a seasonal-best of 46.19 for third place in the sixth heat, nearly matching his PR of 46.18 set in the NCAA quarterfinals a year ago in Jacksonville, Fla., and Bush ran 46.54 for second place in the fourth heat to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals.
     
    Senior Charlene Lipsey and junior Natoya Goule then wrapped up Thursday’s qualifying action by running the two fastest times in the women’s 800 meters to win their first-round heats. Lipsey lined up in the first heat and posted the top time of the day at 2 minutes, 4.25 seconds, while Goule followed by winning the fourth heat in 2:04.50 for the second-fastest time of the opening round.

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    Isiah Young Breaks Records At NCAA East Prelims Thursday

    GREENSBORO, N.C. – Isiah Young is a fast man, and it seems like every time he runs he just gets faster.

    Young demolished his own school record with a scintillating 9.99 in the 100 meters to highlight the Ole Miss performances on Thursday, the first day of the NCAA East Preliminary Round.

    The recently voted Southeastern Conference Runner of the Year picked up where he left off at the league outdoor meet two weeks ago. His 9.99 is the fastest by a collegian this season, the fastest ever at the NCAA East prelims and just outside the top 10 in NCAA history. He moves up to a tie for fourth in the world this year, just behind well-known Americans Tyson Gay, Justin Gatlin and Mike Rodgers.

    The senior from Junction City, Kan., had run sub-10.1 three times this year, but he took it to a whole new level on Thursday. The next closest prelim time was a 10.14 by Jackson State’s Anaso Jobodwana.

    Young advances to Friday’s quarterfinals, which is scheduled to run at 5:45 p.m. CT. He is also slated to run in the 200 meter first round on Friday (7:25 p.m.) and the 4x100 meter quarterfinal on Saturday (5:15 p.m.).

    The only Ole Miss athlete to advance to the June 5-8 NCAA Outdoor Championships (Eugene, Ore.) on Thursday was sophomore Sam Kendricks in the pole vault. The top 12 in each event at the preliminary site advance to Eugene, and Kendricks was one of 12 vaulters to clear 17-2.75 on Thursday. He officially tied for fifth place based on misses.

    A native of Oxford, Miss., Kendricks will be making his third straight appearance at an NCAA national meet. He earned All-America honors by placing 10th at last year’s outdoor meet and third at this year’s indoor championships.

    Freshman Asia Cooper advanced to the quarterfinals of the 100 meters, a la her teammate Young. She finished third in her heat to automatically advance, clocking a personal-best time of 11.59 that moves her up to eighth-best all-time in Ole Miss history.

    Cooper will take part in Friday’s quarterfinals at 5:30 p.m., with a chance to advance to Eugene.

    Other Rebels slated to compete on Saturday include Benjamin Lapane in the men’s javelin (11:00 a.m.), Onyi Afoaku in the men’s shot put (4:00), Taryn Hartfield in the women’s 100-meter hurdles (4:00), Robert Semien in the men’s 110-meter hurdles (4:30) and Haley Cutright in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase (7:50).

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    Two Gators Advance to Eugene, 12 Qualify for Quarterfinals on First Day of NCAA Prelims

    GREENSBORO, N.C. – Two Gators earned trips to Eugene in their respective national semifinals on the first day of the NCAA East Preliminary Round, hosted by North Carolina A&T State University.

    Junior distance runner Florence Ngetich (Eldama Ravine, Kenya) was outstanding in the women’s 10,000 meters, finishing fourth overall in a new PR of 33:28.10. That time improves her standing at third all-time in Florida program history and Ngetich finished as the top SEC athlete in the field with the fastest time in the conference this season.

    “Florence did as Coach Spangler laid out in her race plan,” Florida head coach Mike Holloway said. “What we want all of our athletes to do is engage in the fight. This is a win or go home situation and she did a great job conducting herself out there. She’s healthy and followed the race plan well.”

    Junior heptathlete Lorraine Graham (Springdale, Md.) finished fifth overall in the women’s long jump, leaping 6.17m/20-3 (+1.6) to move on to the finals site in Oregon. The Gator junior will also look to advance in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with preliminaries beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.

    “I’m very excited for Lorraine to qualify for her first NCAAs,” Holloway noted. “She’s been doing the multi-events all year and now she gets to focus on just the long jump and the hurdles. I look forward to seeing her compete in the hurdles tomorrow.”

    12 Gators advanced out of their preliminary rounds Thursday, including eight women and four men. All six Gator quartermilers qualified to go along with a sprinter, two hurdlers and three mid-distance athletes.

    On the men’s side, Arman Hall (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), Hugh Graham, Jr. (Miami, Fla.) and Najee Glass (Woodbridge, N.J.) won their heats of the men’s 400 meters to automatically qualify for Friday’s quarters, going 4-5-6 overall. Hall was just .01 off his collegiate best with a time of 45.58. Graham, Jr. and Glass were right behind him in qualifying with times of 45.70 and 46.16.

    2013 SEC Indoor titleholder Sean Obinwa (Tampa, Fla.) advanced in the men’s 800 meters Thursday. The All-American junior finished with a time of 1:48.70 to qualifying for a spot in Friday’s 7:15 p.m. quarterfinals with a trip to Eugene on the line.

    For the women, it was the Miami trio of freshman Robin Reynolds (Miami, Fla.), junior Ebony Eutsey (Miami, Fla.) and junior Lanie Whittaker (Miami, Fla.) who all earned automatic qualifying times of 52.58, 52.61 and 52.66 to advance to Friday’s action in Greensboro. All three Gators are also slated to run together as part of Florida’s 4x400-meter relay.

    All-Americans Cory McGee (Pass Christian, Miss.) and Agata Strausa (Riga, Latvia) advanced in the women’s 1,500 meters, as McGee was the top overall qualifier in 4:17.39. Strausa also automatically qualified for Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal with a time of 4:26.45.

    In the hurdles, seniors Ugonna Ndu (Newark, N.J.) and Amani Bryant (Tampa, Fla.) qualified out of their respective preliminary heats. Ndu breezed through her heat in 58.02 while Bryant took the final automatic qualifying spot in her heat with a time of 58.44.

    Also advancing on the women’s side was junior Darshay Davis (Mirimar, Fla.), who ran a season’s best 11.38 to advance to Friday’s 6:30 p.m. quarterfinals, nabbing the last automatic qualifying spot in her heat.

    “It was an up-and-down day for us but there were more ups than downs,” Holloway commented. “I spoke to our athletes and challenged them to come out here the rest of the weekend and really stick their nose in there and compete. We still have a lot of great chances Friday and Saturday to qualify for Eugene. We are a team and we pick everyone up when they need it.”

    The Gators start the day Friday with Jayla Bostic (Wellington, Fla.) competing in the women’s hammer at 10 a.m. The next Florida event is the women’s 100-meter hurdles, featuring Ndu and Graham, at 5 p.m.

    48 individual qualifiers and 24 relay teams from each region are competing at either the East or West Preliminary Rounds, as the qualifiers are then whittled down to 24 individuals and 12 relays who will advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 5-8. Florida was awarded 48 qualifiers (22 men, 26 women) for the NCAA East Preliminary Round.

    The Gator men are the defending NCAA Outdoor Champions and have placed in the top three at the last four NCAA Outdoor Championships, while the Florida women recorded a third-place finish at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.

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    Three Track & Field Wildcats Book NCAA Trips On Day One of East Prelims

    GREENSBORO, N.C. – A trio of Kentucky track and field Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Championships during the first day of the NCAA Preliminary Championships on Thursday.

    Andrew Evans, Rebecca Famurewa and Chelsea Oswald all punched their tickets to Eugene, Ore., for the NCAA Track and Field Championships, which will take place June 5-8.

    Evans began the day for Kentucky in the men’s discus, an event he was All-American in last season. Competing in the third flight with the top-seeded throwers Evans all but booked his trip to NCAAs with his opening throw, which traveled 57.61 meters / 189 feet.

    That mark would have finished fifth overall, but Evans launched a throw 58.55m / 192’01” on the final throw for good measure as he placed third overall, well within the top-12 threshold required to advance.

    Rebecca Famurewa – seeded second in the women’s discus -- didn’t get the first two throws she wanted, fouling on the first and throwing well short of her best on the second toss.

    With the pressure on for her third throw, she made the final with a mark of 50.54m/165’10” to put her in eighth overall with three more throws in the final.

    She would improve on the next two attempts, reaching 52.99m/173’10” for her NCAA Championship qualifying throw. She finished fifth overall.

    Chelsea Oswald placed eighth in the 10,000 meters with a personal best time 33:37.87 to make NCAA’s comfortably considering the distance.

    Oswald’s 10K at Nationals will be the third race at the distance of her life as she won the SEC Championship in her debut 10K two weeks ago.

    Kentucky qualified five competitors into the regional final of all five event prelims UK competitors entered on Thursday.

    Keith Hayes showed no lingering effects from the leg issue that caused him to miss the SEC hurdles finals as he produced a season best 400-meter hurdles performance 51.53. He placed third in his heat and will run the regional final on Friday at 6:15 p.m. ET.

    Allison Peare ran a PR 1,500 meters time for the second consecutive race crossing the finish line in 4:18.66 to make the Regional Final, which will be contested on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

    Matt Hillenbrand made the men’s 1,500m final with the sixth-fastest qualifying time of 3:47.85. The men 1,500 regional final will go on the track after the women’s 1,500 on Saturday.

    Keilah Tyson ran a wind-aided PR 11.47 (+2.3) in the 100m prelims. She will race for a trip to NCAAs on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

    Morganne Phillips also clinched a spot in the Friday 400m regional final with a time of 53.00 to place third in her heat. That event’s regional final will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday.

    Tamyah Pipkin ran an all-conditions 100m PR 11.61. She was sixth in heat two, and did not advance, but she is still competing in the 200 meters and 4x100-meter relay.

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    Lampe Qualifies at School-Record Pace, Five Gamecocks Advance Lampe is first of the Gamecocks to book trip to Eugene, Ore., for NCAA Championships

    GREENSBORO, N.C. – Sophomore Kayla Lampe broke her own 10,000-meter school record with a time of 33:43.95 to qualify for the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships and five Gamecocks advanced to quarterfinals on the first day of the NCAA East Preliminary Round at Irwin Belk Track.

    After being patient for the majority of the race, Lampe began making her move on the bell lap, passing multiple runners to secure her top-12 spot. Lampe broke a 15-year-old school record earlier this season at the Raleigh Relays with a time of 34:26.99.  Her time of 33:43.95 betters her entry in the Gamecock record book and is the 24th-fastest time in the nation this season entering the preliminary rounds.

    Greensboro native and freshman Tyler Brockington, enjoyed her first race on her hometown track this week, running a 57.40 in the first round of the 400-meter hurdles.  PR-ing for the second time in her last three races, Brockington finished second in her heat to automatically advance to tomorrow’s quarterfinals.  The time also vaults the freshman into the all-time South Carolina top 10 in the eighth spot.  

    Sophomore Tamera Harris also advanced to tomorrow’s 400-meter hurdle quarterfinals.  Harris clocked in at 58.40 to advance on time with third fastest of the non-automatic qualifiers. The two Gamecocks will race at 7:30 p.m. ET tomorrow.

    Junior Chris Royster and freshman Kendall Kee also advanced to event quarterfinals. Royster recorded a 10.33 to finish second in his heat to automatically move on in the 100-meter dash.  Kee clocked in at a new personal-best 10.38 to advance on time. The men’s 100-meter dash quarterfinals are slated for 6:45 p.m. ET tomorrow.

    Sophomore Erika Rucker was the fifth Gamecock to advance to quarterfinals on Thursday, recording a collegiate-best 57.02 in the 400-meter dash.  By crossing the line first in her heat, Rucker advanced. Her time was the second-best of the day and lowers her time in the South Carolina record book where she sits in ninth place. Rucker will attempt to make a return trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. ET.

    For the fourth-consecutive season, the country has been split into two regions - East and West - with the top 48 athletes (24 relays) in each region qualifying for the Preliminary Round. The East Preliminary is being held in Greensboro, N.C., with the West Preliminary taking place in Austin, Texas. The event quarterfinals include 24 student-athletes, 12 of which will receive trips to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 5-8.

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    Day one qualifying goes very well for Aggies at NCAA West preliminary
                                                                                               
    AUSTIN – Texas A&M advanced very well on the opening day of the NCAA West preliminary rounds held at Mike A. Myers Stadium. The No. 2 Aggies had a pair of field eventers advance to the NCAA Championship in Eugene, Oregon, while a crew of 14 moved on to the quarterfinals this weekend in six events.

    Dalton Rowan and LaQue Moen-Davis each qualified for the trip to Eugene in the discus and long jump, respectively. In addition the A&M men had eight qualifiers in the 400 hurdles (1), 100 (3), 400 (2) and 800 (2) while the Aggie women advanced six sprinters with five moving on in the 100 with one entrant in the 400.

    In the men’s discus Rowan finished eighth with a toss of 186-4 (56.80) to earn a berth into the NCAA Championship field. Rowan produced his mark in the second round after opening with a foul.

    The top mark belonged to UCLA’s Julian Wruck of Australia, who reached a distance of 209-10 (63.95) to top the field by 11 feet. Chad Wright of Nebraska followed with a 198-3 (60.44) while Iowa’s Gabe Hull was the only other thrower over 190 with a 191-10 (58.47).

    Moen-Davis improved over the course of the first four rounds to place 10th with a mark of 20-6.25 (6.25) as the top 12 moved on to Eugene. Her opening leap measured 20-3.75 (6.19) while a 20-4.25 (6.20) in round three followed a foul. In the fourth round Moen-Davis hit her best effort to secure her position.

    The leading long jump went to Andrea Geubelle of Kansas, who reached a mark of 21-4.75 (6.52), and was followed by a 21-4 (6.50) from Arizona State’s Christabel Nettey.

    In the first round of the 100 meters the Aggies had a total of nine entries, with six in the women’s field and three in the men’s. Texas A&M advanced eight of the nine sprinters to the quarterfinals, which will be held Friday. The lone sprinter who missed advancing in the women’s 100 did so by a narrow 0.01 of a second.

    Ashley Collier (11.33w), Olivia Ekpone (11.37w) and Ashton Purvis (11.56w) were heat winners in the women’s 100. Jennifer Madu (11.46w) placed second in a heat and LaKeidra Stewart (11.51w) finished third in her heat to earn automatic qualification to the quarterfinals.

    India Daniels placed fifth in a very close finish in her heat of the 100 as fourth through seventh place all stopped the clock at 11.62. The final time qualifier to advance was 11.61.

    Ameer Webb (10.14) and Prezel Hardy, Jr. (10.31w) were both heat winners in the men’s 100 while Michael Bryan (10.30) finished second in his heat to TCU’s Charles Silmon (10.03).

    The Aggies also fared well in 400, as three of four advanced to the quarterfinal. Ibukun Mayungbe was the lone A&M entrant in the women’s 400 and she placed third in 53.32 from lane 1 to earn an automatic qualification to the next round.

    Deon Lendore cruised to a heat win in 46.23 in the men’s 400 with the runner-up crossing the finish line in 47.14. Lendore’s time was third overall to a pair of 46.14s run by USC’s Bryshon Nellum and Akheem Gauntlett of Arkansas.

    Ricky Babineaux placed third in the final of six heats with a 46.55 to earn an automatic qualification to the next round. Carlyle Roudette finished fifth in his heat and his 47.35 did not advance on time.

    Greg Coleman advanced to the next round of the 400 hurdles with a second place finish in his heat as he ran 51.24 behind the 51.16 from Steven White of North Texas. The leading time advancing to the quarterfinals was 50.01 by Jeffery Gibson of Oral Roberts.

    Aikan Graham placed fifth in his heat of the 400 hurdles with a 52.76 to place 33rd overall among the field of 48. He was seeded 37th coming into the meet.

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    TENNESSEE TRACK & FIELD PUNCHES FIVE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP TICKETS

    GREENSBORO, N.C. – Five Tennessee track & field athletes punched their tickets to the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championship meet, and five others moved a step closer to following suit Thursday on the first day of the NCAA East Preliminary Round meet at North Carolina A&T’s Irwin Belk Track in Greensboro, N.C.

    Sophomore Tavis Bailey was the first UT performer to advance to the NCAA meet, slated for June 5-8 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Bailey did so in dramatic fashion, recording a mark of 178-feet, 9-inches (54.49m) on his third and final throw of the discus preliminaries. Unable to up the mark in the 16-man finals, Bailey’s throw held up to become the East Region’s 12th and final representative at the NCAA Championships. It will be the first NCAA appearance for the Kannapolis, N.C., native. He will also throw in the shot put competition on Friday.

    Lady Vol Kia Jackson, a two-time NCAA Championship participant in relays, earned the first individual bid of her career. Jackson eclipsed the 20-foot mark in the women’s long jump, posting a personal-record leap of 20-1 (6.12m) on her third jump. With the top 12 advancing to Eugene, the mark held for a ninth-place finish. Jackson also put forth a solid effort on the straightaway, finishing 17th in the first round of the 100m dash. Her time of 11.50 seconds advances her to tomorrow’s semifinals.

    As it’s done all season, the Vol pole vault corps came up big on Thursday evening. The trio of Jake Blankenship, Chase Brannon and Tyler Porter were all perfect through 17-0.75 (5.20m) at Irwin Belk Track. Brannon, a third-place finisher at the SEC Championships, missed his first attempt at 17-2.75 (5.25m), but the other two Vols cleared to stay miss-free. Brannon cleared the 5.25-meter mark on his next run and the height ended up being the NCAA Championships cutoff. Blankenship and Porter ended in a four-way tie for first place with no misses and Brannon finished 11th to make the group at Hayward Field 12.5 percent Vols.

    The top 12 finishers in both the East and West Prelims advance to Eugene, Ore., for the 2013 NCAA Track & Field Championships.

    Back on the track, freshman sprinter Felicia Brown set a lifetime best in the 400-meter race, crossing the line in 52.64 seconds to finish second in her heat and ninth overall. Brown advances to the semifinals in the event tomorrow and will also run in the 200m prelims tomorrow evening.

    In the women’s 800m, upperclassmen Kianna Ruff and Nijgia Snapp both placed in the top three of their respective heats to clinch lanes in the semifinals. Ruff clocked in at 2 minutes, 5.63 seconds, while Snapp registered a readout of 2:07.59.

    Junior Vol sprinter Jarael Nelvis, the only Tennessee athlete competing in three events this week, snuck into the men’s 100m semifinals with the best time of his career. Running in the third heat, Nelvis finished in 10.38 seconds to earn one of the six at-large bids.