JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 28, 2011) - Four ETSU athletes closed out the season competing in the preliminary first round of the NCAA East Regional for outdoor track Thursday and Friday in Bloomington, Ind.
Despite a hard-fought effort to represent ETSU, seniors Mike James (Palm Bay, Fla.) and Jasmine Ingram (Frederick, Md.), and freshmen Ifrish Alberg (Paramaribo, Suriname) and Emani Harrison (Columbia, S.C.) fell short of the 24 student athletes who advanced to the quarterfinals in each event.
"We competed hard but it just wasn't meant for us to move forward," said Sprints Coach Brandon Morton. "I'm very proud of all four athletes that made it."
On Thursday, Harrison took the first stab in the 100-meter dash, taking the No. 7 seed in Heat 4 to a 44th-place 12.09. Immediately following the women's 100, Alberg ran a respectable 10.93 out of the No. 7 seed in the very first heat, but he could only watch as the next five heats pushed his time all the way to No. 46.
Third in succession, Ingram ran the 400 shortly thereafter, seeded No. 2 in Heat 5. ETSU's 400 record holder clocked in at 55.81, fifth in her heat and all but out of the running. Five more runners from Heat 6 further outpaced the time, including fellow Atlantic Sun sprinter Danielle Davenport of Jacksonville. Davenport, fellow Dolphin Unique Singleton, and North Florida standout Brianna Frazier all ran top-20 times to represent the A-Sun in the quarterfinals.
Transitioning to Friday, ETSU had one last chance to advance: James in the 110 hurdles, where he garnered the No. 1 seed in Heat 2. After a sixth-place 14.45 for the heat, James sat in tenth place overall, left to await his fate pending further results. If less than 15 athletes could outrun him, he would be safe. It was not until the sixth and final heat that Miami's Devon Hill officially shoved James out of the top 24, on the way to 29th place overall. Representing the A-Sun with advancing marks, Campbellâ€™s Adoniss Jones locked up 16th place and Kennesaw State's Kendall Parks, the reigning outdoor 110 champion, finished 19th.
Morton summed up the trip as a memorable mark in all four athletes' Buccaneer careers.
"It was a great experience for Emani and Ifrish going into next year," said Morton, "and it brings a close to two great careers for Mike James and Jasmine Ingram, who both set personal records this year.
"I wish we could have qualified," he added, "but we have to take this and learn from it and be ready for next year."
Assistant Coach Eli Sunquist has already announced 12 signees for 2011-12, who join a strong core returning from a transitional 2010-11. Sunquist said the program is in the process of signing more athletes for next season. To keep tabs on ETSU Track, Field and Cross Country, bookmark ETSUBucs.com.