EMU Women - Six Eagles Look to Qualify for NCAA Championships
Provided by EMU
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – Six members of the Eastern Michigan University women's track and field team will compete at the NCAA East Regional, May 23-25, in hopes of keeping their seasons alive and qualifying for the NCAA Championships. The three-day preliminary round, hosted by North Carolina A&T State University, will be conducted on Irwin Belk Track inside Aggie Stadium in Greensboro, N.C.
In order to qualify for the NCAA Regional, athletes had to crack the top-48 in their respective region (East or West). Once the field is set, the top-12 in each regional meet will advance to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, June 5-8, in Eugene, Ore.
“Our regional qualifers have all had spectacular track seasons, and we are looking forward to seeing what they can do against top competition,” mentioned EMU Head Coach Sue Parks. “Three of them are ranked in the top-13 in their respective events, and the top-12 from this meet qualify so, obviously, several are in good position to continue on to the national championships. We know that it will take their best to make it to Eugene, but they are ready for the challenge.”
Two seniors, two sophomores and two freshmen clinched spots to the East Regional following impressive outdoor campaigns. Team captain Asia Rawls (Waterford, Mich.-Waterford Mott), the lone national qualifier from a year ago, will look to punch her ticket back to the national championship in the 400-meter hurdles. Rawls qualified for the preliminary round with a time of 58.32 that won the senior a MAC Championship. She will be the first Eagle to compete at the regional meet as the first round of the 400-meter hurdles begins at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 23.
Rawls will be joined be fellow team captain and senior, Tatijana Jacobson (Woodville, Ohio-Woodmore), who will take part in the high jump. Jacobson, who begins high jump qualifying at 6 p.m. Friday, May 24, recorded the second-best outdoor mark in EMU history with a leap of 5-feet 9.25-inches (1.76 meters) at the EMU Twilight, April 19. Jacobson made Second Team All-MAC following a runner-up finish at the MAC Outdoor Championships, jumping 5-feet 8.75-inches (1.75 meters).
Two EMU record holders represent the sophomore class. Lydia Gomez-Diaz (Tarragona, Spain-IES Collblanc) qualified for the hammer throw with a season-best toss of 188-feet 7-inches (57.48 meters). Gomez-Diaz is coming off a podium finish at the MAC Outdoor Championships where she finished in seventh place. The sophomore from Spain will get an early start for the Eagles as the hammer kicks off Friday morning at 10 a.m.
Breaking her own school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Drake Relays, April 27, Victoria Voronko (Stavropol, Russia-University of Moscow) secured her 13th-seed spot in a time of 10:15.74. The MAC Outdoor Champion has four wins this season, including two in the steeplechase. The First Team All-MAC honoree will run under the lights of Aggie Stadium at 8:30 p.m.
A pair of freshmen round out the EMU qualifiers as Vanessa Clerveaux (Brockton, Mass.-Brockton) will run the 100-meter hurdles, recording the sixth-best time in EMU laurels (13.67) at the Spartan Invitational, April 6. Clerveaux, the 60-meter hurdles MAC Indoor Champion, placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles at the MAC Outdoor Championships her last time out on the track. The Brockton, Mass. native sets her sights on a national championship berth, competing at 5 p.m. Friday.
Alysha Newman (Delaware, Ontario-Mother Teresa) will compete in the pole vault. Newman sits sixth in the region with a leap of 13-feet 9.25-inches (4.20 meters), a mark she set at the Sea Ray Relays, April 12, that tied the outdoor Canadian Junior National record. The freshman phenom completed the MAC Championship sweep in the pole vault, adding her second conference crown outside at Akron, leaping 13-feet 5.75-inches (4.11 meters). It was not easy for the Delaware, Ontario native as a jump off with Akron's Arian Beaumont-Courteau determined who would win the MAC outdoor pole vault title. With the victory, Newman became the first EMU women's pole vaulter to win both indoor and outdoor MAC Championships in the same year since Hanna Palamaa accomplished the feat in 2002. The All-MAC first teamer will try to leap her way to the national stage at the same time as Clerveuax, 5 p.m. Friday.
At last year's regional, six Eagles also competed, but only one qualified for the NCAA Championships. Rawls punched her ticket in the 400-meter hurdles with a 58.50, which was a personal-best as well as the second-best mark in EMU history at the time.
Qualifiers for NCAA Regional (Seed and Qualifying Mark)
44. Clerveaux, Vanessa, 13.67
12. Rawls, Asia, 58.32
13. Voronko, Victoria, 10:15.74
38. Jacobson, Tatijana, 5-feet 9.25-inches (1.76 meters)
6. Newman, Alysha, 13-feet 9.25-inches (4.20 meters)
25. Gomez-Diaz, Lydia, 188-feet 7-inches (57.48 meters)