INDIANAPOLIS – Jacksonville State's track and field will be represented in six events at the NCAA East Regional next weekend in Bloomington, Ind. as the NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee announced the qualifiers on Thursday.
The NCAA East Regional will commence on the University of Indiana campus on May 26-28. The qualifiers from those regions will compete in the NCAA Championships held June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa.
"We're pretty pumped to get all of these young ladies into the field. The seven total entries are the most in program history and - we just missed getting another two or three in as well," said JSU Track & Field Coach Steve Ray. "With the new and much tougher qualifying format it is a big deal just to make it to regional championship. Obviously we have some goals and aspirations with regard to how we'll fare next weekend but to be honest, oftentimes if you just do what got you there you tend to place pretty well. But yes, we would love for one or more of them to make it to the national finals. Trust me, Coach Gibson will have them ready to rock and roll when they step out on the track in Bloomington".
Individually, JSU's Laveeta Oliver will compete in a pair of events as she will be seeded 27th in the field of 48 in the 100 meter dash. The Ohio Valley Conference's Female Athlete of the Year will also be among the field in the 200 meter dash. Oliver's school-record breaking mark of 11.52 in the 100 meter event on April 9 at the Boston Moon Classic earned her a spot in the regional field. The sophomore from Orange Park, Fla. earned a qualifying time in 200 at Troy University's Coach "O" Invitational as she shattered another JSU program mark in the event with a time of 23.60.
Oliver will have company in the 200 as freshman sprinter Shamira Barrett turned in a post season qualifying time in the event. The OVC's top freshman female for the outdoor season clocked a qualifying time of 23.79 at the OVC Championships earlier in May. Barrett, who hails from Adairsville, Ga., was also tabbed the league's Freshman of the Year for the indoor season.
Sophomore Elizabeth Bond earned a spot in the 400 meter event after turning a time of 54.45 at the OVC Championships. Junior Natasha Sturkie rounds out the individual competitors as she made the field in the 400 meter hurdles. The Choccolocco, Ala.-native posted a 59.28 at the Troy-hosted event.
For the first time in the program's history, Jax State will have a pair of relay teams in those events. The Gamecock 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams earned qualifying marks last weekend at the Clemson meet.
The quartet of Ebonie Curry, Barrett, Bond and Oliver clocked a mark of 45.10 in the 4x100 meter relay to establish a new JSU program mark that the same four set on April 23 in Troy, Ala. In Troy, the foursome turned in a time of 45.77. JSU's mark on Saturday not only breaks the school's all-time mark in the 4x100, but it's the best time turned in all-time by on OVC team. A Southeast Missouri relay squad previously held the top conference mark at 45.40 set in 2000.
In the 4x400, Bond, Barrett, Sturkie and Oliver earned a spot in the East Regional with a time of 3:38.15, which sets a new standard in the event at JSU for the third time this season. Last week at the OVC Championships, the team carded a 3:42.71 to win the OVC. Just like the 4x100 mark, the 4x400 team etched their names in the OVC Record Book as it shattered a 20-year old record in the OVC. Murray State's 4x400 squad posted a time of 3:40.57 during the 1991 season.