Track And Field Sends 15 To NCAA Regional
May 19, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina track and field program will send 15 athletes in 13 events to the 2011 NCAA East Regional in Bloomington, Ind., May 26-28 according to the release of the field by the organization Thursday. The selections, eight men and seven women, mark the most in a season for the Pirates as the previous high was 13 last year.
"We are very proud of our kids who are heading to the regional," head coach Curt Kraft said. "It just shows our program is steadily growing and getting better each year. It is also a credit to our athletes and coaching staff who continuously strive to improve every day."
The top 48 entries submitted for each event in the East and West regions qualified for the preliminary races.
ECU will take two Conference USA champions to Indiana in sophomore Tynita Butts and freshman Aiesha Goggins. Butts continued her reign as the premier high jump specialist in the league as she recorded a mark of 1.78 meters, just .02 off her season high, to capture her third-straight and second consecutive outdoor C-USA championship. Meanwhile, Goggins completed a sweep of the indoor and outdoor league titles in the 400-meter event, running a school-record and current fourth-fastest national time of 51.94 in the finals of the outdoor championships to win the race by almost a full second. She also set the meet record in the event at the indoor affair. The two athletes qualified in an additional event each, with Butts taking on the field in the long jump and Goggins representing the Pirates in the 4x400 relay.
Upperclassmen Maegan Lewis and Kim Kanala are scheduled to participate in the hammer throw - the first event of the meet. Lewis threw 57.55 meters at the C-USA Championships to earn her spot while Kanala recorded a mark of 54.58 at the same meet to qualify.
Another rookie, Tyshonda Hawkins, ran a solid time of 23.82 in the 200-meter dash at the league meet and enters regionals with the 42nd-fastest declared mark in the East. She joins sophomore Tiffany Harris, freshman Tania Minkins and Goggins as the 4x400 relay team looks to advance to the national meet.
On the men's side, two field athletes will compete in multiple events as junior Dennis Aliotta and sophomore Montrell Morrow both take part in the hammer throw. Aliotta will also take part in the shot put while Morrow earned a spot in the discus. A mark of 61.18 meters in the hammer currently puts Aliotta 47th nationally.
Sophomore Austin Lewis will also pull double duty on the track, qualifying in the 100-meter dash and as part of East Carolina's C-USA runner-up 4x100 relay squad. He ran 10.49 in the 100 at the Charlotte Invitational to solidify his regional standing. Joining Lewis in the 4x100 are junior captain Isiah Gyasi, senior Mario Briscoe and freshman Desmond Lawrence. Additionally, Briscoe is slated to compete in the 400-meter hurdles event via qualification at the UNC Invitational with a time of 51.64 which tabs him 45th nationally.
A pair of seniors rounds out the men's group in Jordan Neil and Spencer Barrick. Neil posted a time of 3:43.43 in the 1,500-meter run at the Florida Relays which, at that time, was the second-fastest time in the nation and also earned him C-USA Athlete-of-the Week accolades. Barrick clinched his trip to the regional with a javelin throw of 67.00 meters at the league meet.
The top 12 finishers in each preliminary event from each region advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, scheduled for June 8-11 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.