Wolfpack Track & Field Begins Competition at NCAA Regionals
May 23, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – NC State’s 26 entries in the NCAA East Regional Preliminaries will begin competition on Thursday at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium.
All-Americans Ryan Hill, Kenyetta Iyevbele and Andie Cozzarelli will all see action on the first day of competition, as they look to finish in the top 12 of their events and advance to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, in early June.
Hill, who was a first-team indoor All-American at the 3,000 meters earlier this year and an NCAA outdoor qualifier last year, will run in the first round of the men’s 1,500 meters at 5:30 p.m., looking to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals. Hill is also entered in Friday’s 5,000-meter semifinal, along with fellow 2011 NCAA qualifier Andrew Colley and senior Bobby Moldovan and Sandy Roberts.
Iyevbele, a first-team All-American last year as a freshman in the women’s 800 meters, will compete in the first round of that event on Thursday, looking to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals. Senior Tiayonna Blackmon will also compete in the first round of the event.
Cozzarelli, a second-team All-American as a sophomore last year, will compete in the semifinals of the women’s 10,000 meters on Thursday. She will also run in the women’s 5,000 meters on Saturday. Freshman Joanna Thompson will also compete in the Thursday’s 10,000 meters.
Other athletes competing on Thursday include sophomore Nathaniel Williams and redshirt freshman Jule Rich in the men’s discus, redshirt freshman Tremanisha Taylor and senior Lawanda Henry in the women’s shot put and junior Karimah Shepherd in the women’s long jump.
Veteran head coach Rollie Geiger is looking to advance as many athletes as possible from the regional preliminary round to the NCAA Championships, which begin 10 days following the regional meet at Drake Stadium.
“In order to score at nationals, you have to be in the top 12 at regionals,” Geiger said. “That is our only focus right now, to get people to nationals.
“The most important thing about this weekend is that no one, no matter how good they are, can look past this weekend to the championships. You have to be on top of your event at regionals to have any hope of advancing.”
While Geiger and his athletes are looking forward to competing in a newly renovated facility, they also know they will have to compete with the northern Florida heat and humidity. Most running events will be held in the late afternoon and early evening, while the field events begin midmorning.
“The heat will affect everyone equally, of course, but we have several distance runners who will be competing in two events,” Geiger said. “They have to be particularly careful to stay hydrated every day as they prepare for their events.”
Full coverage of the meet is available from this championship central page and results and recaps from the three-day event will be available on GoPack.com at the end of each day.