EMU - Women's Track and Field Sends Four to Florida for NCAA East Regional
Provided by EMU
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) — Eastern Michigan University's women's track and field team will send four representatives to Jacksonville, Fla. for the NCAA East Regional, May 30-31. Coming off an impressive third-place finish at the 2014 Mid-American Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the Green and White will look to send as many of its top athletes to the NCAA Championships.
In order to qualify for regional competition, the athletes had to stand in the top-48 in the NCAA East Region. For relay teams, the top-24 times (one per school) qualify for regionals. Following the preliminary rounds, the top-12 will advance to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, June 11-14, in Eugene, Ore. This year, the Eagles will look continue a streak of having an athlete in Eugene, as the team has sent a member of the team to the NCAA Championships for three consecutive seasons.
All four athletes will compete on Friday, May 30, beginning with the first flight of the pole vault at noon. Ellie Braidic (Pandora, Ohio-Pandora-Gilboa) enters the meet with a seed height of 4.00 meters/13 feet 1.25-inches, making her just the fifth Eagle in EMU history to clear the four-meter mark in both the indoor and outdoor campaigns. The sophomore has been making her way up the rankings in EMU laurels during her young career, currently boasting the sixth-best vault. The region is led by Duke's Megan Clark, who also holds the third-best jump in the nation at 4.45 meters/14 feet 7.25-inches. Just behind Clark is MAC opponent Annika Roloff, seeded second in the NCAA East and fourth in the region at 4.41 meters/14 feet 5.50-inches.
Competition will take a brief pause until 5 p.m., when Kate Wolanin (Oxford, Mich.-Oxford) will aim to improve on her already impressive qualifying mark in the high jump of 1.82 meters/5 feet 11.50-inches. The senior broke through national rankings at the MAC Championships this year, tacking on seven centimeters to her personal record to claim runner-up as well as tie for the 13th-best jump in the nation. With the clearance, Wolanin tied the MAC meet record and recorded the second-best jump in program history. The region, as well as the nation, is led by Leontia Kallenou of Georgia, who has cleared 1.92 meters/6 feet 3.50-inches, holding just a half-inch edge over East Carolina's Tynita Butts. The two frontrunners will compete alongside Wolanin in the second flight of the event.
At 8:25 p.m., MAC Champion Aaliyah McKinney (South Bend, Ind.-John Adams) will run in the first preliminary heat of the 200m dash. McKinney had a stellar showing for the Green and White at the conference meet, claiming victories in both the 100m and 200m. The sophomore recorded a career-best mark of 23.71 to earn her spot among the region's top-48, led by Kentucy's Dezera Bryant. Bryant holds the nation's third-best time at 22.68 and is one of just four regional competitors to run a sub-23-second time. If McKinney qualifies for the quarterfinal heat, she will continue her appearance at the regional meet Saturday at 7:50 p.m., which would determine whether she will be making the trip to Eugene in two weeks.
Friday's slate will conclude with the first heat of the 3000m steeplechase at 9:30 p.m., in which EMU recordholder and two-time MAC champion Victoria Voronko (Stavropol, Russia-School #42) will be competing for her second consecutive ticket to the NCAA Championships. Last year, Voronko qualified with a ninth-place finish time of 10:08.10, and has slashed nearly an additional three seconds off her EMU record time in the past year. Her time of 10:05.94 put the junior atop the podium at the MAC Championships, where she also claimed victory in the 1500m and was runner-up in the 5000m to garner co-Most Valuable Performer honors. Voronko's mark stands as the fifth-fastest time in the region and 11th-best in the nation. The region is led by Rachel Sorna of Cornell and Leah O'Connor of Michigan State, who hold more than a 15-second margin over the rest of the field with marks of 9:43.48 and 9:44.35, respectively.
Another Eagle has already punched her ticket to the NCAA Championships, but will not be competing in the East Regional. Sarah Chauchard (Montpellier, France-University of Montpellier), who stood atop the podium after turning out MAC meet record-breaking 5,574 points in the heptathlon, is ranked 11th in the nation. Leading the list of Division I competitors is freshman Kendell Williams of Georgia, who has a strong command of national rankings with 6,018 points, more than 200 points ahead of the next athlete.
The NCAA East Regional will be hosted by the University of North Florida at Hodges Stadium. Live stats will be available through flashresults.com, and more information can be accessed through unfospreys.com.
Qualifiers for NCAA East Regional (Seed and Qualifying Mark)
43. McKinney, Aaliyah 23.71
5. Voronko, Victoria 10:05.94
12. Wolanin, Kate 1.82m/5-11.50
34. Braidic, Ellie 4.00m/13-01.25