Track to compete at NCAA East Region Preliminaries

Eleven athletes to compete in 15 events

May 26, 2010 · Christian Lemon

GREENSBORO, N.C. - With the regular season in the books, Middle Tennessee's best track and field athletes will travel to Greensboro, N.C., to compete in the NCAA Outdoor East Preliminaries.

The athletes will compete in the first two rounds of the 2010 NCAA Championships that will determine if they will qualify for the finals in Eugene, Ore., on June 9-12 at historic Hayward Field.

In 2010, the NCAA changed its championships qualification system by eliminating regional championships and replacing it with the current system that takes the top-48 athletes in East and West Regions. After the two preliminary rounds, the fields will be whittled down to the top 12 competitors from the two regions to determine the final fields in Eugene.

Middle Tennessee has four men and seven women competing in 15 events over the weekend's two-day competition.

In the women's triple jump, three-time All-American Sarah Nambawa will look to add her fourth honor in her last year of outdoor eligibility. Nambawa finished third overall at the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships. The senior enters the event with a season best 43-4.25 (13.21m) at the Sun Belt Outdoor Championships. Her mark won the event and placed her eighth in the East Region. Teammate Kortney Thurman will also compete in the triple jump.

Thurman is entered in the long jump with Nyeisha Wright and Kiara Henry. Henry holds the eighth best mark in the region with a recorded leap of 20-6.5 (6.26m) from the Sun Belt Championships, placing second. Wright and Thurman each enter the weekend with season best marks of 19-11.75 (6.09m) and 19-8.75 (6.01m), respectively.

Cherice Robertson is scheduled to compete in the high jump and is ranked 40th in the East Region with a season best mark of 5-8.75 (1.75m). The Memphis, Tenn., native will also run in the 100 meter hurdles with a seed time of 13.68.

Senior runner Zamzam Sangau will look to qualify for the finals in the 800 meters. Sangau enters the championships seeded 17th with a time of 2:06.50.

Brittany Cox is the final Blue Raider women's athlete to qualify for the East Preliminary Regional. The Antioch, Tenn., native placed 23rd overall in the shot put at the 2009 NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., and currently sits fifth regional in the event with a mark of 54-1.25 (16.48m). The senior is also entered in the discus and hammer throw. She holds 22nd and 37th spots, respectively, in the events.

For the men, 2009 NCAA long jump runner-up, Stanley Gbagbeke, is currently seeded eighth in the region with a mark of 25-11 (7.83m). Gbagbeke was a 2009 IAAF World Championships qualifier.

Josh Butler will compete in the triple jump competition. His seed mark of 51-3.5 (15.63m) earned Butler for second at the 2010 Sun Belt Championships.

Hurdler Roscoe Payne will run the 400 meter intermediate hurdles. Seeded 17th in the region with a time of 51.34, Payne is looking to establish himself as one of the top hurdlers in the NCAA.

Junior middle distance runner Festus Chemaoi rounds out the male athletes competing for Middle Tennessee. Chemaoi is entered in the 1,500 meters with a 28th seeded time of 3:45.69, a personal best run at the Georgia Tech Invitational two weeks ago.

Full results and coverage for all Blue Raider athletes at the 2010 NCAA East Region Preliminary rounds will be available on GoBlueRaiders.com.

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