Track Team Ready for NCAA Mideast Regional Championships
May 23, 2007
MEMPHIS - Several members of the Memphis track and field team will be looking to earn a berth in the National Championships as competition begins Thursday at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships at Missouri's Audrey J. Walton Stadium in Columbia, Mo.
The top-five finishers in each individual event as well as the top-three relay teams will advance to the NCAA Championships, June 6-9, in Sacramento, Calif. The most competitors the Tigers have ever sent to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in one season is six, and this year's squad could come close to reaching that number.
"This is the big one," said Memphis head coach Kevin Robinson. "We've been training really well for the last week and everyone seems to be pretty healthy. Hopefully everyone can produce their best performance and have a chance to move on."
As always the Mideast region contains some of the top men's and women's teams in the nation. Among this year's field 14 men's and 15 women's teams rank among the top-25.
Individually, the Tigers have 13 athletes and that have qualified for the regional meet.
Memphis senior Gail Lee stands second in the Mideast in the shot put (16.47m), and is looking to for her fourth NCAA Championship appearance in that event. The two-time All-American will also compete in the hammer throw and discus.
Freshman Steffen Nerdal enters the meet ranked in the top-10 in a pair of events. The Norwegian stands fourth in the hammer with his school record distance 211-2 (64.36m) of and seventh in the discus
Several other competitors on the men's side rank in the top-10 in the region in their respective competitions and pose legitimate threat to reach the NCAA Championships.
Javelin thrower Christian McDonald ranks ninth in that event, while Conference USA long jump and triple jump champion Brandon Winbush ranks highly in both of those contests. Cordova native Larry Harris stands eighth in the men's 400-meter hurdles.
Competition from the regional championships gets underway Friday at 11 a.m. CST.