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May 26, 2013

Six Sycamores heading to NCAA Track and Field championships

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Three Indiana State seniors and a freshman punched their tickets Friday to the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in two weeks at Eugene, Ore. Two more got the job done Saturday on the campus of UNC Greensoboro in the East Preliminary.

Indiana State’s Brandon Pounds, Felisha Johnson, who had already advanced in the hammer throw, and Greggmar Swift earned their spots on the final day of the NCAA East Preliminary Saturday in Aggie Stadium. Johnson dominated the shot put on Saturday to make a third straight appearance in the shot put at the NCAA Finals.

Overall, three men and three women earned berths at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship finals which will be held June 5-8.

Dustin Betz was the first member of the men’s team to earn a berth as he finished sixth in the 3,000 meter steeplechase on Friday. Katie Wise and Nicole Hope also earned their berths on Friday as Wise placed ninth in the women’s 100 meters and Hope tied for first in the women’s pole vault. Johnson is the only Sycamore that will compete in two events as she also advanced in the women’s hammer throw Friday.

“Great race by Greggmar [Swift] today,” ISU men’s coach John McNichols said. “He was second to [Eddie] Lovett in the third heat but they ran the two fastest times. Pounds was also impressive this morning. He had a clutch throw after two fouls in the prelims then big opener in finals that moved him to third.”

Pounds finished third in the men’s hammer throw with a distance of 212-2 and will compete at the NCAA Finals for the second straight year. The senior finished fifth at the 2012 NCAA Championships and set the school record in the event earlier this season at 215-2.

Johnson dominated the women’s shot put and set a new school record in winning the event with a throw of 59-11 1/4. She finished fifth at the 2012 Championships. The Sycamore will also be competing in the hammer throw after placing 12th in the event on Friday.

Swift equaled his collegiate best time as he ran 13.49 seconds to finish third overall and second in his heat of the quarterfinals in the 110 meter hurdles. This will be the junior’s second straight trip to the NCAA Finals after placing 10th at the 2012 Championships.

Pounds had fouled on his first two attempts in the men’s hammer throw but posted a distance of 204-5 which moved him into 10th and earned him a spot in the final round of throws. The senior posted his best throw of the series on his fourth attempt, going 212-2 which moved him into third.

Sycamore junior Justin Applegate competed in his first NCAA East competition in the men’s hammer throw and placed 39th with his best throw going 174-8.

Johnson opened her competition in the shot put with a distance of 57-2 which put the senior into first place and she never was topped. Her best throw came on her third attempt as she broke her own school record with a distance of 59-11 1/4. Johnson set the record for the first time this season at the Drake Relays with a distance of 59-7.

Swift advanced to the quarterfinals of the men’ 110 meter hurdles by posting the fifth fastest time in the preliminaries of 13.67. That put him into the third quarterfinal heat where he went up against Florida junior Eddie Lovett as the two raced side-by-side down the track. Lovett (ranked fifth nationally) won the heat in a season best 13.39 with Swift (ranked eighth) just a step behind and second in 13.49.

Also in competition Saturday was the women’s 4x100 meter relay team of Carmelia Stewart, Macey Black, Demetra Camble, and Katie Wise who ran a season best 45.04 in finishing 15th overall and just missing an opportunity to run at the NCAA Finals.

Senior Shalesa Smith competed in the first of four flights in the women’s triple jump and posted her best leap on her second attempt at 40’-31⁄4“ (12.27 meters). She remained in the top 16 with a chance to make the second round of jumps until the final round of the fourth flight when she was knocked down to finish 25th overall.

Betz ran the second fastest 3,000 meter steeplechase in school history as he finished second in his heat with a time of 8:47.19 and sixth overall to advance to the NCAA Finals. The senior’s collegiate best effort moves him into second on the Sycamore All-Time list behind Jordan Fife who ran 8:42.43 in 2005 and ahead of Aaron Harding who ran 8:53.38 also in 2005.

Wise ran her collegiate best in the first of three quarterfinal heats of the women’s 100 meters and will advance to her first NCAA Finals. Wise finished fourth in the first heat with her personal best of 11.33 seconds which moves her into second on the Sycamore All-Time list. She moved past Omegia Keeys, who ran 11.38 in 1996, and now trails Indiana State legend Holli Hyche who set the Sycamore record 11.03 in 1994.

The freshman will be the first Sycamore woman to run in the 100 meters at the NCAA Finals since Keeys competed in the event at the 1996 NCAA Championships. Hyche is the only other Sycamore to compete in the event as she won the 100 meters at the 1993 and 1994 Outdoor Championships.

The freshman also competed in the first round of the 200 meters Friday just an hour and a half after her 100 meter race. Wise finished sixth in the sixth heat of the first round in 24.06 to place 30th overall but just two-tenths of a second from a spot in the Saturday quarterfinals.

Johnson started out slow in the women’s hammer throw Friday but advanced to the second round of the event with a throw of 185-10 on her third attempt. The senior needed to go farther in order to reach the top 12 that qualify for the NCAA finals and did just that on each of her final throws. Her last attempt soared 191-2 which moved her into 12th. This will be the second time that Johnson will compete in the hammer throw at the NCAA Finals,

Hope was the third Sycamore to punch their ticket to the NCAA Finals on Saturday as she tied for first in the women’s pole vault, clearing the bar on each of her two attempts during the competition. Hope was one of four vaulters to clear 13-5 1⁄4.

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