Memphis Track and Field Completes Day One of Competition at NCAA MidEast Regionals
May 29, 2009
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Memphis took nine to the two-day NCAA MidEast Regional Championships. Four men were in competition during the first day's events on the Friday.
"Our kids represented the university well today," said head coach Kevin Robinson. "We're just excited to see what our athletes can do tomorrow. They are all on an elite level and heading into tomorrow, no matter what happens from here, they have to hold their heads high because they have all now experienced something that not a lot of people have."
Sophomore Richard Lowe locked up his spot in the 400m hurdles finals on Saturday with his second-place finish in his preliminary heat on Friday. After a slow start coupled with hitting the last hurdle, his 51.78 preliminary time was good enough to land Lowe in eighth-place overall qualifying him to race in the finals tomorrow at 5:50 p.m.
"This is his first ever regional meet and he walked on to the track and put himself in the finals," said Robinson. "He didn't get out real well, but made up a lot of ground. He came up beside the leader of his heat and he clipped the last hurdle pretty hard and really slowed him down. He has great abiltiy and works really hard. If he cleans it up tomorrow, he can run under 51 seconds and might show well tomorrow."
Senior Christian McDonald wrapped up a stellar career for Memphis track and field with his second appearance at the MidEast Regionals in the javelin throw. He finished Friday in 24th place with a mark of 55.00m (180-05). The senior set his personal record at last year's regional meet with a mark of 64.90m (212-11). He also placed fourth at the 2009 C-USA Outdoor Championships with a season best toss of 63.55m (208-06).
"Today was the last time he threw as a Tiger," said Robinson. "He set a school record in the javelin. He was a major force for us at the conference level and I'm proud of the great career that he had here. We hoped he would finish out on a higher note, but it just wasn't meant to be today."
In his first appearance at the NCAA MidEast Regionals, freshman Aaron Evans took to the track with the 12th best time at 1:49.35 in the MidEast Region for the 800m preliminaries on Friday. Evans started strong in the first 600 meters of his preliminary heat, but faded in the last half lap finishing fifth place in his heat in a time of 1:55.02 and 20th overall.
"Aaron came out in his freshman year and performed on a high level for us most of the year," said Robinson. "He has been a great asset for our program and he had a good season, but today, it just wasn't his race."
Aaron Whetstone came into the NCAA MidEast Regionals with the sixth-best mark in the MidEast Region in the long jump with a mark of 7.75m (25-05.25). The sophomore was only able to record one mark of X.XXm (Xx-xx.xx) during his heat of the men's long jump. Whetstone still has one more opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Championships as he is competing in the triple jump event tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.
"He's one of the best double jumpers in the nation," said Robinson. "He only got one clean mark in today and had some strong foul marks, but they don't measure fouls. He is a great competitor and has the abiltiy to come out tomorrow and put the pressure on in the triple jump. I think he can come out tomorrow and put himself in the national championships.
Several Tigers will be in competiton tomorrow. The first of the competitors is sophomore Charlotte Abrahamsen in the javelin throw at 11:00 a.m. Present at the women's shot put event, will be three representatives from the University of Memphis. Senior Sivan Aballi that comes in with the 16th best mark in the region, sophomore Marina Vojinovic with the 21st best mark, and junior Karmyn Clark with the 48th best mark will be in competitoin at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
"Tomorrow may be Sivan (Aballi)'s last meet for us," said Robinson. "She has the ability to put herself in the NCAA Championships because she qualified for the indoor champs this season already. Marina (Vojinovic) also has a good shot at qualifying as well and we're really hopeful for this group."
Freshman Kyosha Yarbrough will get her first career taste of NCAA regional competition as she takes flight in the triple jump event at 5:00 p.m. as she enters the event with the 24th best time in the region. After competing in the long jump on Friday, Whetstone will come back on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. for the triple jump preliminaries with hopes to qualify himself for the NCAA Championships. Whetstone enters the event with the region's third-best mark at 15.90m (52-02.00).
"Aaron (Whetstone) probably has the best chance heading into tomorrow to make it through to the championships," said Robinson. "It is a big day overall for us and I have a lot of hope riding in these kids. Whatever happens, I'm proud of them making it to this point and no matter what they have achieved what many people have not had the opportunity to do."
Lowe will gear up for the 400m hurdles finals taking place at 5:50 p.m. tomorrow night.
Saturday's events will be scored live by Delta Timing. Live Results