Belcher, Dickson Come Up Short at NCAA Indoors
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (March 10, 2017) – In an unfortunate turn of events, neither sophomore Michael Dickson nor junior Christopher Belcher qualified for the final rounds in their individual events at the 2017 NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships. Now sophomore Lasheon Strozier, who will compete the triple jump at 5 p.m., on Saturday in Gilliam Indoor Stadium, is the only Aggie left in the finals.
Dickson, who came into the 60-meter hurdles semifinals ranked third in the nation, was disqualified after a disappointing fall. Although the sophomore was not seriously injured, the first fall of his collegiate career will keep the young athlete from All-American accolades this year.
Belcher was also unable to garner top-eight times in his events – the men’s 60 and 200 meters. Belcher ran the second of two heats in the 60m and placed fifth in 6.64, his PR. That time ranked ninth amongst the competition, just narrowly preventing Belcher from the finals. The eighth-highest time in the 60m, and the last qualifying time for finals, was 6.63 posted by Senoj-Jay Givans of the University of Texas. After the 60m, Belcher competed the first of four heats in the 200m. He placed fourth in his heat with a time of 21.02 that ranked 15th overall.
“Mike especially came in here ready to race. He just hit a hurdle the wrong way and that happens sometimes,” said Aggies the director of track and field programs Duane Ross, a former Olympian hurdler. “Chris, I think he didn’t execute as well as he could have. I think Chris used a lot of gas in the 60 and then in the 200 he didn’t compete as well as he could have.”
Being that no Aggie progressed to the finals during the 2016 NCAA indoor championships, and injury kept both Belcher and Dickson from reaching the finals at the 2016 NCAA outdoor championships, the athletes and their coach were especially ready to show and prove this NCAA meet.
“I’m just disappointed,” said Ross. “Last year when we came here I was disappointed for a variety of reasons. Last year I thought the athletes came here, and they didn’t show up ready to compete. This year I felt bad for my guys because they really came in here ready.”
Despite the setbacks, Belcher and Dickson have each had indoor seasons to be proud of. Belcher earned two male track athlete performer of the week honors from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) as well as three first-place finishes at the MEAC indoor championships. Belcher also set the school record in the men’s 200m to 20.59 at the Boston Last Chance Meet.
Dickson, who only raced the 60mh in three competitions before NCAAs, also earned honors from the MEAC for track athlete performer of the week. Dickson broke the collegiate facility record at the JDL Fast Track as well as the A&T school record in only his second 60mh competition of the season with a sprint of 7.63 at the Camel City Invite. Both Belcher and Dickson were main factors in the Aggies national event rankings throughout the season, including their end-of-the-season rankings of first in the 60mh, third in the 60m, and fifth in the 200m.
“I think as a staff we have to figure out a way for them to get here and be ready to compete,” said Ross. “I think that has a lot to do with it. These guys must learn how to compete at the championship level, and that’s a mental aspect. Physically they’re ready, but the mental aspect of it, the confidence, we’re missing that. We have all the confidence in the world when we have a local meet, but when we come here we’re not focusing the same.”