Dickson To Make Season Debut In 60 Meter Hurdles
GREENSBORO (January 26, 2017) – In an effort to take advantage of South Carolina’s first-ever indoor banked track, the North Carolina A&T men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams have three meets scheduled at Clemson University this season. Friday will be the second of those meets as the Aggies will compete in the Bob Pollock Invitational, January 27-28. Friday’s events will commence with the women’s weight throw, men’s pole vault, and women’s 800-meter pentathlon event, all beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday, the women’s shot put will lead the competition starting at 11 a.m.
Clemson has garnered much attention this year, including that of North Carolina A&T, with their indoor facility’s new banked track, which features a Super x720 surface. With good elasticity, spike resistance, and ambient resistance, the track has similar features, and the same manufacturer, as those seen at the Olympic Games for the past decade.
“A lot of people think is the fastest track in the country,” said the director of track and field programs Duane Ross. “It’s bringing in a lot of competition and we want to be in the midst of that competition.”
Although none of the women sprinters and hurdlers are performing this weekend, the men will still try to maximize the experience. To do so, some of the Aggies top sprinters will return this weekend to face-off with several others currently ranked top-50 in the nation.
After recovering from a hamstring injury, sophomore Michael Dickson is ready to make his season debut in the 60 meter hurdles. Dickson remained in the nation’s top-16 throughout the season last year and he is the only Aggie on the current roster to qualify for the 2016 NCAA Indoor Championships, where he finished 10th in the 60mh preliminaries. Dickson also holds the school record in this event, which he set at 7.74 at last year’s Armory Track Invitational.
“I don’t want to say too much about Mike because it might boost his head up,” Ross said jokingly. “But Mike is a good athlete. He went to NCAA as a freshman last year, and he’s excited to try again this year. And I’m excited to see him do that.”
In his opener, Dickson will likely see the stiffest competition from Isaiah Moore of the University of South Carolina. Moore is currently ranked No. 6 nationally with a time of 7.80. Dickson will also have to rival junior Kirk Lewis of Clemson who is currently positioned No. 16 with a 7.88 time.
Sophomore Justin Hamilton will also make his season debut in his individual event, the 400m. Hamilton is ranked as the Aggies top 200m sprinter and last year he was the highest-ranked Aggie in both events. Hamilton currently holds the No. 24 spot in the nation in the 200m with a time of 21.34 from the Virginia Tech Invitational.
This weekend, Hamilton will have some rigid matchups in both the 200m and the 400m events. In the 200m, Hamilton will likely face the current No. 1 in the country, Alabama’s Jereem Richards. Richards’ best time this season is 20.57. Also in the 200m, South Carolina’s Titi Ncincilili is No. 9 in the nation with a time of 20.94. As for the 400m, Hamilton’s biggest contesters will likely be Clemson’s Michael Cheeks and Alabama’s Skyler Bowden.
After resting through last week’s Hokie Invitational, senior Chris Belcher will also be returning to competition this week in the 60m. Belcher’s 6.64 qualifying time from the Virginia Tech Invitational is currently ranked No. 6 in the nation, but he will likely race two other 60m athletes in the nation’s top-15. Darryl Haraway from Florida State is ranked just below Belcher at No. 8 and Cravont Charleston of N.C. State is currently No. 14 with his 6.68 mark. Having been on the road consistently this season, Ross intends to give the women a break this week and the men will rest next week.
“We stagger everything based on when the competitions are,” said Ross. “Clemson is one of the most competitive teams, especially in the sprints, so we need to be there.”