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NCAA Championships await Blue Raiders

Competition runs June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore.

June 4, 2013 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Seven Blue Raiders will head for Eugene, Ore., this week as they prepare for the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, June 5-8.

Cordairo Golden, Andre Hamilton Eliud Rutto, Demetrius Shelton and Emmanuel Tugumisirize will represent Middle Tennessee at the national meet, looking to join the prestigious group of 48 Blue Raider athletes that have won 90 All-American awards, which includes teammates Noah Akwu and Ann Dudley, who will also compete at the championships.

While seven is the most that MT has sent to the NCAAs in a few years, head coach Dean Hayes commented that this season was different than others namely because "most of these athletes have a chance at getting something at the NCAA."

Dudley enters the meet as the highest ranked Blue Raider athlete, as she is listed at No. 10 on the NCAA high jump performance list. Her career high jump of 1.84 meters was attained for the second time earlier this season at the Penn Relays, which she won in 2012 and 2013.

"Ann has placed in the NCAA before, and this will be her fourth trip, so she knows how to compete there," Hayes said. "She's a three-time All-American, and has really come a long way in her four years at Middle Tennessee."

Tugumisirize is close behind her on the NCAA performance lists, as he attained the 13th fastest 400-meter time for the season. Tugumisirize's career best mark is 45.82, which he ran at last week's NCAA Regional.

"Emmanuel came in the middle of the year, and he has really competed tough for us," Hayes said. "He's gotten better about every meet. Hopefully he'll get another PR (personal record) and have a chance to place in the NCAA."

Next in the rankings is Cordairo Golden, whose career long jump of 15.77 meters, or 51-9.00 feet, is No. 19 in the NCAA this season.

"Cordairo has been to the NCAA before, so at least he's had some experience at it," Hayes said. "He had one of the better jumps in the east regional, so that should give him a chance."

Rutto is another newcomer to the Blue Raider track team, but has made an immediate impact by setting the school record for the 800-meter run, and winning the 800 at the Sun Belt Championships. He broke his own school record in last week's regional, cruising to the finish in 1:48.66.

"Eliud, of course he is young, but he really ran well in the regionals - set the school record in the 800-meters - so he'll have a chance to do alright I would think," Hayes said. "He joined us in the spring, and kind of came out of nowhere, so I'm not even sure he knows what he can all do. He's young, so I think next year getting into the cross country and just being a little older - just age - will help him out a lot."

Awku, Hamilton and Shelton will not compete individually at the NCAAs, but will join Tugumisirize and Rutto on the men's 4x400-meter relay squad.  Shelton is going as an alternative, based on what happens in the individual races.  Hayes mentioned that the most likely lineup will be Hamilton, Akwu, Shelton and Tugumirize for the competition.

"With the mile relay, so much of that matters on how the race plays out," Hayes said. "The west region was really tough, and all 12 of their times were faster than ours, so we'll have to fight to get in, but at the same time we have run faster than what we ran in the regional (3:06.98) in the Sun Belt Championships). If we run that fast, I think we have a chance to qualify."

The team embarks for Eugene on Monday, with the stadium open for warm-ups on Tuesday, prior to the meets' start. A complete schedule of events can be found by clicking here, though MT's athletes will compete at the times listed below.

Schedule of Events (MT Only)

Wednesday, June 5
4:45 p.m. - Eliud Rutto competes in 800-meter semifinal
5:15 p.m. - Emmanuel Tugumisirize competes in 400-meter semifinal

Thursday, June 6
6:40 p.m. - Noah Akwu, Andre Hamilton, Demetrius Shelton (or Eliud Rutto) and Emmanuel Tugumisrize compete in 4x400-meter relay

Friday, June 7
5:30 p.m. - Eliud Rutto competes in 800-meter finals (if qualified)
6:05 p.m. - Emmanuel Tugumisirize competes in 400-meter finals (if qualified)

Saturday, June 8
12:30 p.m. - Cordairo Golden competes in Triple Jump finals
12:45 p.m. - Ann Dudley competes in High Jump finals

* - Times listed are Pacific Time Zone

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