Aggies Head to Georgia, Virginia and Charlotte
GREENSBORO (April 6, 2017) – An invite to the Spec Towns Invitational in Athens, Ga., was recently extended to the North Carolina A&T men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams. Having accepted, the teams are now preparing for an interesting three-way split of their athletes this weekend. In addition to the Spec Towns Invitational, hosted by the University of Georgia, the teams will also compete in the Johnson C. Smith University Invitational (Charlotte, N.C.) and the Liberty Collegiate Invitational (Lynchburg, Va.) April 7-8.
The director of track and field programs, Duane Ross, intends to send the sprinters and hurdlers to Georgia, the multi-event competitors to Liberty and everyone else will compete at Johnson C. Smith.
“We try to put our kids in the best position possible and take advantage of these opportunities,” said Ross. “With the competition going to Georgia and us being extended an invite to take our sprinters there, that was too good to pass up. I like my kids to be in the fire. To be the best you have to beat the best so that’s what we’re doing.”
Georgia is sixth on the NCAA Division I top-25 rankings and the Aggies also expect to face Virginia Tech (18th), South Carolina (19th) and Auburn (24th) in Georgia. But having dominated the Florida Relays last weekend, the Aggies are more than prepared for the challenge—especially the Aggies current leader in the men’s 100-meter and 200-meter events, sophomore Rodney Rowe. After last week, Rowe has secured three separate top-15 rankings on the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Qualifying List. Rowe is currently 10th in the nation in the 200m (20.61), 13th in the 100m (10.30) and 13th with the men’s 4x100 relay team (39.51).
“The weather was great and the competition was amazing so that’s what really pulled me through the line,” said Rowe about the Florida Relays. “I was expecting to hopefully open up with something nice, but I wasn’t expecting that.”
In addition to Rowe, the Aggies have two other athletes in the nation’s top-20. Junior India Brown sits at 15th in the nation in the women’s 200m (23.11) and sophomore Lasheon Strozier is 17th in the men’s triple jump (51-feet, 3 ¾-inches).
Ross is looking for more qualifying times for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round. Specifically, Ross expects to see better marks from junior Joel Thomas (100m), senior Caleb Gabriel (100m and 200m), senior Darren White (3000m steeplechase), junior Dajuan Harding (400m), sophomore Justin Hamilton (400m) and sophomore Derrick Wheeler (hammer throw).
“We’re in good shape but we still have some work to do,” said Ross. “We have a lot of people who haven’t hit that mark yet, but they should.”