Tribune-Star staff report
GREENSBORO, N.C. —
Three Indiana State seniors and a freshman have punched their tickets to the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in two weeks at Eugene, Ore., with their Friday efforts in the 2013 NCAA East Preliminary at Aggie Stadium on the campus of North Carolina A&T.
Senior Dustin Betz became the first to qualify as he finished second in the second heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase to earn his spot. Freshman Katie Wise ran to a ninth-place finish in the women’s 100-meter quarterfinals, while senior Nicole Hope tied for first in the women’s pole vault and senior Felisha Johnson placed 12th in the women’s hammer throw.
Junior Greggmar Swift advanced to the quarterfinals of the men’s 110 hurdles as he won his heat with the fifth-fastest time in the first round of 13.67 seconds. The quarterfinals will run at 7:20 p.m. today.
Betz ran the second-fastest 3,000 steeplechase in school history as he finished second in his heat with a time of 8:47.19. The top three from each heat earn a spot in the event at the NCAA finals. The seniors 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 and will advance to her first NCAA finals. Wise finished fourth in the first heat with her personal best of 11.33, which moved her into second on the Sycamores’ 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 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 in the 1993 and 1994 outdoor championships.
Five of the 12 NCAA final qualifiers came from Wise’s opening heat. Central Florida junior Aurieyall Scott won the opening heat and posted the fastest time in the semifinals with her collegiate best of 11.05. Florida junior Darshay Davis was second in the heat (11.29) and Louisiana State senior Takeia Pinckney third (11.30). Also advancing from the heat was Kentucky freshman Keilah Tyson (11.37) who finished behind Wise.
The freshman also competed in the first round of the 200 Friday just an hour and a half after her 100 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 quarterfinals today. She has one more event to compete in at the NCAA East as she will join Kaisha Martin, Macey Black, and Demetra Camble in the 400 relay at 6 p.m. today.
Johnson started out slow in the women’s hammer throw but advanced to the second round in the event with a throw of 185-10 on her third attempt, which moved her to 13th overall. 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 and she has one more event left for her NCAA East competition. Johnson will go in her best event, the shot put, at 5:30 p.m. today. She has reached the NCAA finals in the shot put in each of the past two seasons and is ranked second in the nation this year.
Hope is the third Sycamore to punch her ticket to the NCAA finals 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, including Alabama senior Alexis Paine, Virginia Tech sophomore Martina Schultze and Georgia sophomore Morgann Leleux.
Sycamore senior Richelle Kimble was one of 10 athletes to clear 13-1 1/2 but will not make the trip to the NCAA finals as she was judged to tie for 15th on misses. North Carolina sophomore Cameron Overstreet, one of the athletes tied with Kimble, won a jump-off for the final ticket to Eugene.
Freshman Kimyanna Rudolph competed in her first NCAA East competition and finished tied for 38th by clearing 12-7 1/2.
Senior Stacia Weatherford completed her Indiana State career by finishing 19th in the women’s 400 hurdle quarterfinals with a time of 59.62. Weatherford ran 57.74 in the first round Thursday to advance to the quarterfinals.
Sophomore Jonathan Jackson ran in the men’s 400 hurdle semifinals and finished 23rd with a time of 53.51. Jackson advanced to the semifinals by running 51.79 Thursday which was 14th fastest in the first round.
Junior Chris Fields and freshman Derek Bunch competed in the men’s shot put and each saw their 2013 season come to a close. Fields finished 38th overall with his best throw of 52-11 1/2 with Bunch placing 41st with his best throw of 47-10.
The NCAA East will wrap up today with the Sycamores competing in four events. Brandon Pounds and Justin Applegate will compete in the men’s hammer throw, which starts at 10 a.m. with Johnson returning for her third event of the NCAA East competition when she goes in the women’s shot put at 5:30 p.m. Shalesa Smith will also be in competition today as she seeks an NCAA finals berth in the women’s triple jump, which starts at 5:30 p.m.
On the track, Martin, Black, Camble and Wise will attempt to make the NCAA finals in the 400 relay at 6 p.m. The final Sycamore in competition will be Swift, who will seek his ticket to the NCAA finals as he runs in the 110 hurdle quarterfinals at 7:20 p.m.