EUGENE, Ore. – The 2014 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships begin Wednesday at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.
Senior Desmond Lawrence will be the only athlete representing the Aggies at the championship meet. This will be Lawrence’s first appearance at the championships.
He is ranked 15th going into the 100 meters after positing a personal-best time 10.22 at the NCAA regional on May 30 to qualify for nationals. Lawrence is schedule to run in the semifinal round Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., pacific time, 8:30 eastern.
Lawrence is seeded fifth in the race. If he makes it to the final he will be the first ever A&T first-team All-American in the 100 meters. If he wins, he will be the school’s first ever national champion.
“My expectation going into the 100 is to make it to the finals,” said Lawrence. “Then I would have the opportunity to compete for a national championship, which I believe I have an opportunity to place. If my times keep dropping, I can become an All-American.”
Lawrence is a Durham, N.C., who began running track at age 6 for the Durham Striders. “I started running because that was all I ever did at home, but I never really enjoyed running track. It wasn’t fun at that age,” said Lawrence.
Therefore, he stopped running completely until his junior year at Southern High School. Over time, he said, he started to enjoy track again because it became more competitive.
After high school, Lawrence went to East Carolina University to play football and run track. After his sophomore year at East Carolina he decided to transfer to North Carolina A&T.
“I initially transferred from ECU for a greater opportunity to play football,” said Lawrence. “I always knew I wanted to continue running track at whichever school I went to, my experience turned out to be greater than I expected.”
Lawrence gave credit to Duane Ross, director of A&T ‘s track and field programs, for helping to reignite his passion for track and field, stating that the former Olympian has had a big influence in his progression over the past two seasons.
After competing in three previous NCAA East Preliminary Rounds, once at ECU on their 400 meter relay team, Lawrence is finally at a NCAA national meet.
It has been a steady climb for Lawrence. He placed second in the 100 meters at the MEAC outdoor championships in 2013 with a time of 10.42. He is the 2014 60 meters (6.78) and 100 meters (10.57) MEAC champion. He also placed third in the 200 at the MEAC outdoor championships at 20.88.
“I’ve seen myself grow extremely fast over my past two years at A&T,” said Lawrence. “I am just now reaching a higher level of success after competing for the previous three seasons.”
Lawrence still has one year of eligibility left in indoor track. He has also has one more season of eligibility remaining in football after leading the Aggies in receiving in 2013. But this will be his last opportunity as a collegiate athlete in outdoor track.
“He’s been training well and he’s ready to compete,” said Duane Ross, director of track and field programs. “I’m happy with the growth he has had this season, not only on the track, but as a man. This is his last collegiate meet, I want him to leave everything on the track and become the athlete I know he is.”