Bucs Send Five to NCAA East Preliminary
Bucs Send Five to NCAA East Preliminary
Thursday, May 17, 2018

Atkins, Roberts, Johnson, Charles, Whipkey Tampa-Bound

 JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 17, 2018) – ETSU will be represented by five student-athletes at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field East Preliminary meet, which begins May 24 in Tampa, Fla. The NCAA announced its list of competitors Thursday.

The top 48 athletes in each event in each region – East and West – are invited to prelims, after the initial list of entrants is reviewed and athletes unable to participate are sifted out. The top 12 performers at each regional meet (the West prelim will be held in Sacramento, Calif.) advance to the National Championships, starting June 6 in Eugene, Ore.

"We're excited about our five qualifiers and looked forward to the competition," said Bucs head coach George Watts. "All five have more in the tank and I believe we can get an NCAA qualifier two from the group."  


Kyra Atkins (Greer, S.C.) will make her third East prelim appearance in as many years in the women’s 100 meter hurdles. The junior won her third consecutive Southern Conference championship last weekend and will be seeded 27th in the East with a time of :13.29 set at the Georgia Tech Invitational in Atlanta on April 20.

The first round in Tampa is Friday, May 25 at 5:00 pm, with final rounds beginning Saturday at 7:20 pm. Atkins was 24th in the 2016 East prelims and 29th last year.


Simeon Roberts (Greeneville, Tenn.) is going to his second straight East prelim in the men’s 3000 meter steeplechase. He’s seeded 10th with a time of 8:52.26, a personal best set at the Virginia Challenge in Charlottesville on April 20, and ranks 28th in the nation on the Track & Field Results Reporting Service (TFRRS) website. He finished 23rd at last year’s preliminary meet.

Roberts will be joined by sophomore Noah Charles (Johnson City, Tenn.), who also set a PR at the Virginia Challenge – 8:59.18 – and will be seeded 35th in Tampa. His time is 88th in the nation.

The East prelim steeplechase is set for 8:20 pm on Friday, May 25.


Ben Johnson (Nashville, Tenn.) is among the entrants in two events – the men’s javelin and the men’s hammer.

Johnson set an ETSU record in the javelin with a throw of 222’ 7” (67.48m) at the Raleigh (N.C.) Relays on March 31, putting him 18th in the East region and 41st in the national standings kept by the Track & Field Results Reporting Service (TFRRS) website. He’ll be seeded 18th in Tampa.

Johnson claimed the final East prelim spot in the hammer after posting another ETSU record with a throw of 196’ 5” (59.87m) at the ETSU Tri-Star Classic in Johnson City on April 28.

The hammer competition is the first event on the East prelim schedule, at 11:30 am EDT on Thursday, May 24. The javelin starts at 4:00 pm on Saturday, May 26.

This will be Johnson’s second NCAA appearance this year. He was 13th in the weight throw at the Indoor National Championships in College Station, Texas on March 10.


Alyssa Whipkey (Pennsville, N.J.), who won the women’s javelin by a decisive 17 feet at the Southern Conference Championships on May 10, will be the 41st seed in Tampa.

She qualified with a personal-best throw of 149’ 9” (45.64m) at the VertKlasse Meeting in High Point, N.C. on April 6. Whipkey is 94th on TFFRS’ national list.

Her competition begins at 4:00 pm on Thursday, May 24.


For more information on Buccaneer Track and field, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the track and field page.