TAMPA, Fla. (May 25, 2018) – North Carolina A&T track and field (men and women) completed the second day of the 2018 NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round at USF Track & Field Stadium on Friday.
One Aggie is guaranteed to see their respective seasons furthered at the NCAA Championships, June 6-9 in Eugene, Ore. While some are headed to Saturday quarterfinals for a chance at nationals.
Freshman Trevor Stewart is a first timer. After a superb Thursday where he had the third-fastest time in the 400 meters to qualify for Friday’s quarterfinals, he is headed to the semifinals in the Eugene by running a 45.62 to have the ninth-fastest time of the quarters. The top-12 competitors qualify for nationals. On Thursday, Stewart ran a personal-record 45.28.
“I’m very happy for Trevor,” said N.C. A&T director of track and field programs, Duane Ross. “He didn’t run his best race but he did what he needed to do to get to Eugene.”
Three Aggies did qualify for quarterfinal races on Saturday. Junior Kayla White had to make a tough decision between competing in the 100m and the 100-meter hurdles. It is difficult to compete in both because the races because they are scheduled too close together.
White, the MEAC champion in both races, came into the east regional ranked sixth in the 100mh in the East, while being ranked 10th in the 100. White did not compete in the 100m quarterfinals but did not qualify for Saturday’s 100mh quarterfinals by finishing the first-round race in 13.30 for the 22nd-fastest time.
The two other qualifiers came from the men’s side. Sophomore Robert Miller had a season-best performance by running the 110mh in 13.84 to finish with the 13th best time.
It was a up and down day for junior Rodney Rowe. Rowe will compete Saturday in the 200m quarterfinals after running a personal-record 20.27 for the third-fastest time in Friday’s 200. He fell just outside of the top-12 in the 100m, finishing 15th with a time of 10.23.
“Rodney ran well in the 100 but he came up a little short,” said Ross. “He more than made up for it in the 200.”
Other Aggies who competed on Friday included freshman Chase Bonham who finished 19th in 51.64. Senior India Brown saw her extraordinary collegiate career as an individual runner come to an after running a 23.24 in the women’s 200m to finish 33rd.
Brown has two outdoor MEAC titles apiece in the 100 and 200. She has three titles as a part of the 4x100 meter relay team. She has qualified for the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round four times and the NCAA Outdoor Championships twice.
Senior Todd Townsend also saw his championship career come to an end in the 100mh. Townsend ran a 14.14 to finish 32nd. Townsend has been the Aggies hero in the decathlon and heptathlon events during MEAC outdoor and indoor championships. He holds the school record in the decathlon, heptathlon and the javelin throw.
In the women’s 100mh, sophomore Madeleine Akobundu just missed qualifying for the quarterfinals. She finished 25th with a time of 13.35, a tenth of a second behind Quinnipiac’s Jessica Lee. Sophomore TeJyrica Robinson finished 33rd in 13.47.
“As a whole, I am not pleased with our team’s performance thus far,” said Ross. “They have to learn that there is a big difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.”
The final day of competition will include the women’s triple jump. Junior Anisa Toppin, ranked 29th in the East and the MEAC champion in the event, will compete at 4:30 p.m. In the men’s triple jump, junior Lasheon Strozier will come in ranked 44th in the region. The MEAC’s silver medalist will compete at 7:30 p.m.
All four N.C. A&T relay teams won gold at the conference championships. The men’s 4x100 team of sophomore
The 4x400 team of juniors Justin Hamilton, Dajuan Harding and Dickson along with Stewart are No. 7 and will compete at 9:45 p.m.
For the women’s relay teams, it will be sophomores Tori Ray and Jadzia Beasley along with Brown and White competing in the 4x100 as the No. 12 team in the region. They are scheduled to run at 6:15 p.m.
Ray, sophomore Sun-Sara Williams and freshmen Payton Russell and Nia Lundy are ranked 22nd in the nation in the 4x400 and will compete at 9:45 p.m.