Field athletes look to qualify at Radford

Friday, April 29, 2011

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 29, 2011) - With the Liberty Twilight meet rescheduled for next week, ETSU's track and field team sends a handful of competitors to the Highlander Invitational in Radford, Va., this weekend.

Radford marks another stop on the regional qualifier trail, leading to Bloomington, Ind., May 27 when the top 48 outdoor athletes in the region will compete.

Assistant Coach Eli Sunquist turns his focus to the field events this weekend, as Matt Baum (Middletown, Md.), Bethany Lender (Altoona, Pa.) and Jason Johnson (Springfield, Pa.) look to build on a good weekend at the Charlotte Invite.  Baum finished second in the javelin in Charlotte, while Lender took fifth in the triple jump.  Meanwhile, Johnson notched a top-48 mark in the triple jump, a personal best and the second-best jump in ETSU history.

"Those are the three looking to punch their ticket this weekend," said Sunquist.  "The sprinters are taking the week off, so they will train."  Two men's and two women's sprinters already have times in the top 48 for the time being, but Sunquist said some are more likely to qualify than others.

Jasmine Ingram (Frederick, Md.), Mike James (Palm Bay, Fla.) and Ifrish Alberg (Paramaribo, Suriname) are the frontrunners in the 400, 110 hurdles and 100 respectively.  Ingram's school record in the 400 led the Bucs in Charlotte and earned her the Atlantic Sun Athlete of the Week Award, while James blazed to a top finish in the hurdles at 14.22 and Alberg still owns the top A-Sun time in the 100, which was one-fifth of a second faster than his fourth-place 10.42 at Charlotte.

Several Bucs sit on the regional bubble, including Baum, Lender and Johnson, as well as sprinters Emani Harrison (Columbia, S.C.), Robert Purcell (Raeford, N.C.) and Tim O'Dell (Palm Coast, Fla.).  Harrison won the 100 at Charlotte in 11.67, a lifetime best and the new second-best conference mark this season.  Purcell established two personal records last weekend, both top-ten conference marks.  His 48.13 400 is now third among A-Sun sprinters, while 21.65 in the 200 is good for a tie in seventh with reigning Indoor Track MVP Rashad Campbell from Campbell.  O'Dell still holds the conference lead in the 400 with his facility-record 47.71 at the conference championships.

Sunquist said he is confident his sprinters will be ready to compete again next week.  "They need slight improvements within the next three weeks to make sure they are in the top forty-eight," he said, "but all have excellent chances to get there."

Baum's, Lender's and Johnson's field and horizontal events start at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Patrick D. Cupp Memorial Stadium and Track.  To follow the results live, visit directathletics.com or radfordathletics.com.  For more on ETSU Track and Field, visit ETSUBucs.com.

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