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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Dec. 8, 2006) - The ETSU men's track and field team received an early Christmas gift Friday afternoon when the NCAA announced that James Rainer (Alcoa, Tenn.) will be able to compete in the 2007 outdoor season.
"We had a good idea that everything was going to work out for the best, and I am really excited for the team," said Rainer. "Once I found out the news this afternoon I was ecstatic. This will give me the chance to help our team win the outdoor conference championship."
After having a stellar 2005-06 season, Rainer will be the key part to the men's outdoor track team in 2007. He became the first Buc since 2000 to compete at the NCAA Championships last year, and was a four-time Atlantic Sun Athlete of the Week award winner. In addition to his success on the track, Rainer also shined in the classroom by being named to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Team in July.
Rainer helped the ETSU men's team win the inaugural Atlantic Sun Indoor Track and Field Championship last season. He earned gold medals in the 60- and 200-meter dashes at the A-Sun Indoor Championships, as well as winning "Most Outstanding Athlete" honors. Rainer also finished in the top-15 at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships and was the only collegian to qualify for the semifinals.
During the 2006 outdoor season, Rainer cruised to three conference championships by winning the 100- and 200-meter events, and anchored the 4x100-meter relay team to a gold medal. He then set a personal-best in the 100 meters when he posted 10.16 in the preliminaries at NCAA Mid-East Regional Championships in May. Rainer ended with five individual-event titles in the spring.
He sat out the 2002-03 track and field season and was granted a medical hardship for the 2005 outdoor season.
"First I want to thank our support staff for putting in all the hard work, because without them none of this would have happened," added coach Michelle Byrne. "As for getting James back, this is a huge shot in the arm for us, because he is a true leader and works hard every day in practice. He energizes the team, and now this gives us a better chance to win the conference outdoor title."
The ETSU indoor track and field team will compete next in the Tennessee All-Comers meet on Jan. 5 in