Track to send 12 to NCAA Championship Prelims

NCAA announces Championship Field

May 19, 2011 · Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Middle Tennessee track and field will send 12 athletes to compete in 13 total events at the NCAA Outdoor Championships East Preliminary Rounds on May 26-28 in Bloomington, Ind.

The East Preliminary Championship Competition will be held May 26-28 at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex in Bloomington, Ind. The qualifiers from those regions will compete in the NCAA Championships held June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa.

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 Des Moines.

On the women's side, Amber Jackson will participate in her first NCAA competition. She will enter the 800 meters and is currently ranked 32nd regionally with a seed time of 2:07.80. Her time is the second-fastest in program history, behind record-holder Zamzam Sangau. Last season, Sangau became the first Blue Raider to compete in the 800 meters at an NCAA Championship Finals.

Junior-transfer Rosina Amenebede qualified in the 100-meter hurdles. Amenebede's time of 13.64 is in the 39th regional and third-fastest ever run by an MT female.

The Middle Tennessee jumping corps will send five athletes, including Kortney Thurman who scheduled to compete in both the long and triple jump competitions. Thurman's long jump seed mark of 20-11.25 (6.38m) is sixth best in the region, while her triple jump of 41-1 (12.52m) is 35th best. Teammate Kiara Henry will compete with Thurman in the long jump. Henry won the 2011 Sun Belt Outdoor title in the event with a 20-8.5 (6.31m) leap.

Nyeisha Wright, a 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championship Finals qualifier, will jump in Bloomington, Ind. She enters the competition with a seeded jump of 20-3.5 (6.18m).

France Makabu is scheduled to participate in the triple jump. Her standing mark of 41-1 (20-11.25) is 42nd longest in the NCAA East Region.

Rounding out the women will be Ann Dudley in the high jump. The 2011 Sun Belt Outdoor Champion in the event enters with a seed jump of 5-9.25 (1.76m), the second highest in program history.

For the men, quarter-milers Noah Akwu and Steven Palmer both ran respective qualifying times of 46.61 of 47.05. Akwu is coming off a double at the 2011 Sun Belt Outdoor Championships that saw him taking both the 200- and 400-meter dash crowns. He was named Sun Belt co-Trackman of the Year for his accomplishments. Palmer anchored the 4x400-meter relay team at the SBC Championships in a first-place effort.

Akwu earned All-American honors last March upon finishing sixth the in NCAA in the 200-meter dash in College Station, Texas.

Senior Festus Chemaoi will get his last chance to qualify for an NCAA Track and Field Championship finals as he runs the 1,500 meters. Chemaoi competed in the prelims in 2010, advancing to the second round of the event. He finished 23rd out of the top-12 needed to move on the finals two weeks later.

Hurdler Roscoe Payne just missed out of moving on to NCAA Finals in 2010 as he took 13th in the prelims in 51.0. He enters the 2011 meet ranked 27th regionally, with a time of 51.99.

Josh Butler is the lone men's field athlete qualified to compete. Butler ranks 19th in the NCAA East Region with a high jump of 7-0.25 (2.14m).

Daily post-meet coverage of the Blue Raiders at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships East Preliminary Rounds all will available on GoBlueRaiders.com.

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.