DENTON (5/23/03) - The North Texas men's and women's track and field teams are preparing for the NCAA Midwest Regional May 30-31 in Lincoln, Neb. North Texas will have 23 athletes including both 4x100 and 4x400 teams competing for a berth in the NCAA Championship.
"This being the first year for the regionals, I don't think anybody really knows what to expect. The preliminary races will be the most intense races we have faced all year. In some events, it will be harder to make the regional final than it will be at the National Championship. We have got to be at our best on Friday to have any hope of advancing to the finals," said North Texas head coach Rick Watkins.
On the men's side the Mean Green will have six athletes competing along with the 4x100 and 4x400 relays teams. Senior Jerome Carrothers will lead the way as he competes in the shot put and the discus. Senior Ron Paris will also battle in the discus after qualifying in the Sun Belt Conference Championship.
Sophomore pole vaulter Ryan Lancon set the school record by at 5.10m at the TCU Invitational. Hurlder Manny Mallam will compete in the 110-meter hurdles and freshman Jay Vanderford will run in the 400- meter hurdles. Senior Arthur Cox will battle in the 400-meter dash after qualifying with a season best time of 47.08 The men will also have both of their relay teams battling for a spot in the championship.
The North Texas women will have eight athletes going after the school's first berth in the NCAA Championship since 1988. Senior sprinter Ananka Clark will lead the way as she is competing in the 100 and 200-meter dash. Clark set the school record in the 100-meter dash at 11.54 earlier in the season. Senior Cherri Rowe will run in the 400-meter dash and the women will have the 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams competing as well.
In the field events North Texas has six different athletes battling for a Championship berth. Senior shot putter Latrecia Taylor broke the school record at the Sun Belt Conference Championship meet with a toss of 14.09m. Junior Jessica Henderson earned a berth in the discus with her school record toss of 50.95m at the conference meet.
True freshman Diedra Wesley will compete in the high jump after clearing 5-7 earlier in the season. Senior Rhonda Williams enters the long jump after her best jump of the season at the conference meet at 6.05m. Sophomore Tiffanie Jordan is in the triple jump after a season best jump of 12.57m at the conference meet and sophomore Lakisha Gentry will represent North Texas in the javelin throw.
"We will be well represented, with a total of 23 athletes who have qualified. I think our kids are going into this with a lot of confidence, and will be ready to compete. It will be an interesting weekend" said Watkins.
The top five competitors from the meet along with the top three ranked athletes from competition during the season will advance to the NCAA Championship June 11-14 in Sacramento, Calif.