Men's and Women's Track Ready for Mid-East Regionals to Start
May 29, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - - The University of Memphis men's and women's track and field teams departed early Thursday morning en route Columbus, Ohio, to participate in the first-ever NCAA Mid-East Regional Championships.
Junior Adam Martin will be the first Tiger to step into the ring when he begins competing in the hammer throw at 9 a.m. (CDT), Friday. Martin is one of 31 participants in the hammer, and will be compete in the second flight. The top nine throws plus ties will advance to the reverse order finals.
The men's 4x100 meter relay team of Michael Woods, Ivan Williams, Franck Diadhiou and Austin Hunter will take to the track at 3:00 p.m. (CDT). Hunter is stepping into the 4x100 line-up for sophomore Gary Nemeth, who had to return to Hungary due to a family illness. The Tigers will run in the second heat against teams from Tennessee, Mississippi, Eastern Michigan and Indiana State. The winners of each of the four heats and the top 4 next-best times will advance to the final that will be held at 5 p.m. (CDT), Saturday.
Senior Ferenc Bekesi will follow the 4x100 relay team into competition when the 1500 prelims begin at 3:30 p.m. Bekesi will run in the second of three heats. The top three finishers in each heat plus the next best three times will compete in the 1500 final, at 5:15 p.m., Saturday.
The Conference USA men's track and field athlete of the year, Gaute Myklebust, will begin his schedule at the regionals at 4:30 p.m. when the men's discus is contended. Myklebust will compete in the third flight along with the only other athlete in the region to post a better mark than he did during the regular season. Auburn's Gabor Mate threw the region's best mark of 66.99 meters and is the top ranked performer heading into Friday's competition. The top nine marks plus ties will advance to the finals.
At 5:30 p.m., the sprinters return to the track. Senior Keenan Gibson will be the first Lady Tiger to begin her competition when she competes in the second heat of the 100. Gibson was to have competed in the same heat as teammate Chanel Dunn, but Dunn will miss the weekend due to a leg injury. The junior was to compete in the 100 and was part of a 4x100 relay team that posted a qualifying mark, but was forced to scratch due to injuries. The winners of each of the three heats and the next 5 best times advance to Saturday's 6:00 p.m. final.
Gibson returns to the track at 7:00 p.m. for the preliminary rounds of the women's 200. Gibson will run in the first heat against runners from Auburn, Kentucky State, UW-Milwaukee, LSU and Eastern Kentucky. The winners of each of the three heats and the next 5 best times will advance to Saturday's 6:45 p.m. finals.
On the men's side, sophomore Ivan Williams will compete in his second event (he also runs on the 4x100 relay). Williams is running in the first heat against competition from Purdue, Tennessee, Mississippi, Tennessee State and Youngstown State. The winners of each of the five heats and the next 3 fastest times advance to Saturday's finals, scheduled to go after the women's finals at 6:45 p.m.
Saturday's competition for the runners will depend on how many advance from the preliminary rounds. The Memphis field contingent will return to competition at 4:30 p.m. (CDT) when the men's shot begins. Memphis has two participants in the event. Martin will compete in the second flight, while Myklebust competes in the third flight. The top nine marks plus ties advance to the reverse order finals to follow the preliminary rounds.
While the throwers compete in the shot, junior Lisa-Marie Hyman will compete in her only event of the meet when the triple jump begins. Hyman will compete in the second flight, hoping to be among the top nine finishers (and ties), who advance to the finals.
One athlete who knows he is competing in the finals already is junior Mate Nemeth. Nemeth is the second-ranked steeplechase competitor in the region, behind Eastern Michigan's Jordan Desilets. That duo were the only two student-athletes in the region to post times under 8:40 this season. They will face off head-to-head at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, in the second section of the steeplechase.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers are trying to finish among the top five in each of their respective event finals to qualify for the NCAA Division I Championships in Sacramento, Calif. The maximum number of student-athletes that can qualify for the championships is 544 men and 544 women. The men's decathlon, the women's heptathlon and the men's and women's 10,000 meter runs are not competing in regional meets and just qualify directly for the championship meet.