BLACKSBURG, Va. - North Carolina A&T had one last chance to have one of its athletes finish in the top 16 of an event nationally to qualify for the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., March 8-9. But at Saturday's Virginia Tech Last Chance Meet at Rector Field House, no one from A&T was able to post a qualifying mark, ending the indoor season for the Aggies.
Sophomore Christian Harrison did finish the 800 meters in first place on Saturday with a time of 1:52.60. But he needed to run lower than a 1:48.65 to qualify for nationals.
Redshirt senior Darryl Williams had an excellent opportunity to qualify, but injuries and bronchitis slowed his progress throughout the season. Director of track and field programs Duane Ross wanted Williams to run as low as 6.60, which would have been a qualifying mark. Williams ran a 6.75, but was not able to get lower because of the obstacles.
The Aggies will now turn to the start of the outdoor season, which starts in two weeks. Traditionally, the Aggies have been a stronger outdoor team than indoor. Ross expects that will be the case again this season.
"We are trying to build a balanced program, but right now we are an outdoor program," said Ross. "We never disregarded indoor, but we will perform a little better during the outdoor season."
The outdoor season is scheduled to open March 14-16 at the Shamrock Invitational in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Aggie athletes have added incentive for the outdoor season, considering qualifying marks will allow them to participate in the 2013 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round, which will be held at A&T's Irwin Belk Track, May 23-25.