Blue Raiders advance another to Oregon
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Phillip Smith became the fourth Blue Raider to clinch his spot in Eugene, Oregon after bounding a personal-best in the triple jump at the NCAA East Regional at Hodges Stadium.
Smith, a junior from Clarksville, Tennessee, opened the triple jump with a leap of 15.56 meters and followed it in his next attempt with a leap of 15.86 meters (52-0.5). Smith’s distance secured him the 10th-best distance and pushed him on to Oregon.
In addition to Smith, Sampson Laari attempted to qualify in his second event of the regional, running in the 1,500 meter quarterfinal Saturday. Laari finished 11th in the second section in 3:54.94 and 22nd overall, missing the chance to represent the Blue Raiders in two events at the NCAA Championship.
Freshman Jacob Patten earned his first chance to compete at the NCAA East Regional, clearing 2.08 meters (6-9.75) in the high jump to tie for 23rd.
“It is a pretty good day, we added Phillip (Smith) to the group that will head to the NCAA Championships,” said head coach Dean Hayes. “With Phillip (Smith) making it and Atsu (Nyamadi) in the decathlon, we have five for the men that are going to Oregon.”
Seniors Pershsawna Williams and India Hammond competed in the triple jump once more for Middle Tennessee, finishing 22nd and 35th, respectively. Williams leaped a personal-best 12.79 meters (41-11.5) in the triple, while Hammond bounded 12.44 meters (40-9.75).
In the 5,000 meter, Gladys David finished 27th in 17:03.85, while the team of Taylor Day, Barbara Vilson, Loveth Odia and Shaina Johnson closed events for the Blue Raiders in the 4×400-meter relay, finishing 22nd in 3:43.42.
Six Blue Raiders are slated to continue competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon June 8-11.
For the Blue Raider men’s squad, John Ampomah (javelin), Eliud Rutto (800), Sampson Laari (800), Phillip Smith (triple jump) and Atsu Nyamadi (decathlon) are scheduled to compete. Elizabeth Dadzie is the lone female athlete to compete and is scheduled to face off in the heptathlon.
22. Sampson Laari (3:54.94)
10. Phillip Smith (15.86m/52-0.5)
40. Vincent Okot (14.96m/49-1)
T23. Jacob Patten (2.08m/6-9.75)
22. Pershawna Williams (12.79m/41-11.5)
35. India Hammond (12.44m/40-9.75)
37. Gladys David (17:03.85)
22. Middle Tennessee (3:43.42)