Rainer, Ricciardi head to NCAA Regionals

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (May 24, 2006) - With tickets to the NCAA Championships on the line, senior James Rainer (Alcoa, Tenn.) and junior Anna Marie Ricciardi (Canfield, Ohio) will compete in the NCAA Mid-East Regional Championships this weekend, hosted by the University of Tennessee.  Action is scheduled to begin on Friday, May 26, at Tom Black Track at LaPorte Stadium.

           

Rainer will compete in the 100-meter dash, boasting a personal-best time of 10.40.  The senior has been on fire all spring, winning Atlantic Sun Conference crowns in both the 100 and 200-meters, on his way to posting five individual-event victories for the season.  Rainer has also garnered A-Sun Athlete of the Week honors on three occasions this outdoor season.

           

Rainer is slated to run in the first of four 100 heats on Friday, with the heat winner and the next four fastest times earning spots in Saturday's eight-man final.  From there, the top five finishers in the final will pick up automatic bids to the NCAA Championships, scheduled for June 7-10, in Sacramento, Calif.

           

The senior holds the third-fastest time in his super-competitive preliminary race, with Johnie Drake of Central Michigan and Kelly Willie of LSU entering with times of 10.14, and 10.18, respectively.  Alabama State's Curtis Thompson is tied with Rainer with a seed time of 10.40.  Demi Omole of Wisconsin, who will be running in heat two, holds the top time in the field with a blistering 10.11. 

           

Ricciardi will represent ETSU on the women's side, taking on the high jump field.  The junior met the regional standard of 5-8.75 (1.75m) with an event-winning performance at the Jesse Owens Classic on May 6.  She also claimed the A-Sun crown in the event, besting the field with a clearance of 5-7 (1.70m).

           

Alabama's Miruna Mataoanu is the top entrant in the 29-competitor field with a mark of 6-0.75 (1.84m), followed by Kelley Bowman of Louisville at 6-0 (1.83m).  The high jump will be contested on Friday, beginning at 11 a.m.     

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