May 28, 2008
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
The University of Louisville track and field program will have a school-record tying 18 athletes traveling to Fayetteville, Ark., for this weekend's NCAA Mideast Regional at John McDonnell Field on the campus of the University of Arkansas.
The Louisville women's team, following its first ever conference title at the BIG EAST Championship earlier this month, will have a school-record 11 athletes competing in nine events at the two-day meet, while the Louisville men will have seven athletes competing in five events. The meet, which will feature more than 70 schools from 12 states, will begin for the Cards on Friday at 11 a.m. CT and will continue on Saturday at noon CT.
"We're looking forward to taking a record number of athletes to Fayetteville, and our goal is to earn several automatic bids to the NCAA Championships," said Cards' head coach Ron Mann. "It'll certainly be a challenging meet, and you expect that anytime you go up against top 25 teams like LSU, Tennessee, Arkansas, Auburn and Michigan."
The top-five individual finishers, as well as the top-three finishing relay teams, from each region automatically advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, set for June 11-14 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. After the automatic qualifiers are removed, athletes that finished between sixth and 12th in individual events and between fourth and eighth in relay events are eligible for at-large selection to the national championship meet based off the national season-best performance list.
The meet features athletes from six men's teams ranked in this week's top 25 and five top 25 women's teams. Leading the way is LSU, ranked No. 1 in both the men's and women's rankings this week. Other top 25 teams include No. 7 Arkansas, No. 9 Auburn, No. 10 Tennessee, No. 17 Kentucky and No. 23 Mississippi State on the men's side, and No. 12 Arkansas, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 18 Michigan and No. 22 Ole Miss on the women's side.
Leading the list of qualifiers for the Louisville women is sophomore Jere' Summers
in three events. A native of Oakland, Calif., Summers will compete in the discus, shot put and hammer throw. She is the top seed in the discus and second nationally with a school record throw of 189 feet, 3 inches at the Cardinal Twilight on May 17. Summers is also seeded fourth in the shot put and fifth in the hammer throw.
Senior captain ZeNai Savage will compete in two events at the regional, including the hammer throw (No. 4 in the region at 201-03) and the shot put, while junior Seidre Forde has advanced in both the triple jump (No. 3 in the Mideast at 43-09.75) and the long jump. Sophomore Rachel Gehret will compete in the high jump and is ranked second in the region with a cleared height of 5-11.25 earlier this season.
Other regional qualifiers for the Cards include sophomore Theresa Lewis in the 100m hurdles, junior Heather Trimiew in the 400m hurdles, sophomore Tarah McKay in the 1500m, sophomore Amaka Omenyinma in the long jump, freshman Chinwe Okoro in the discus and shot put, sophomore Lindsey Cook in the hammer and freshman D'Ana McCarty in the hammer.
Leading the list of qualifiers for the Louisville men will be the tandem of juniors Rudon Bastian and Andre Black in both the long jump and triple jump events. Bastian enters the meet ranked fourth in the long jump with a leap of 25-10.00, while Black is fourth in the triple jump with a leap of 52-07.50.
Senior Chris Danks will be making his first ever appearance at the Mideast Regional as he enters the 800-meter run ranked seventh overall with a time of 1:48.41. The Cards will have a pair of athletes, Michael Eaton and Cory Thorne, competing in the 5,000m run and two athletes, Josh Greenwald and Andrew Hackney, competing in the discus throw.