DES MOINES, Iowa -- The North Texas track and field team competed in the first day of the NCAA Midwest Regional at Drake Stadium Friday, but a series of mishaps prevented the Mean Green from advancing anyone to the finals. North Texas was the victim of timing mishap in one event and bobbled a baton handoff in another, keeping the Mean Green out of the finals in both events.
“We knew that we needed to have a very good day today in order to get people to the finals and it didn’t work out,” head coach Rick Watkins said. “I thought we would have a chance in a couple events, but for one reason or another we couldn’t pull it together.”
In the 100-meter hurdles, North Texas’ Lauren Wiggins was the victim of a timing malfunction which required her heat to run twice. In her first attempt to qualify for the finals, Wiggins finished second in her heat, but the timing system malfunctioned and her heat was required to run again. In the re-run, Wiggins finished fourth with a time of 14:03 which did not qualify for the finals.
“I thought Lauren ran well the first race and it is unfortunate that they had timing problems,” Watkins said. “She wasn’t able to repeat the performance when they re-ran the race and it cost her.”
The women’s 4 x 100 meter relay team which turned in a time of 45.24 earlier this season failed to qualify for the finals when it suffered a bobbled exchange between Chi Chi Echebelem and Keisha Hornsby and did not finish the race.
In the men’s 200 meter dash, North Texas sophomore Ryan Varner just missed going to the finals after finishing third in his heat with a time of 21.43. It was Varner’s second-best time of the year and he just missed the qualifying time of 21.0 that would have put him in the finals.
North Texas women’s high jumper Ryan Hill did not clear the opening height of 5-7 . Hill ends her successful North Texas career as a three-time NCAA Regional qualifier and her personal best of 5-8 which she set earlier this season ranks as the second-best performance in North Texas history.
In the women’s shot put, Mean Green senior Heather Wood did not make it out of her flight when her best throw of 14.27 meters placed her seventh in her flight. Wood threw 14.72 meters in the Sun Belt Conference Championship two weeks ago to qualify for the NCAA meet.
The action will continue tomorrow when the Mean Green will try to advance four individuals and one relay team to the NCAA Championships in Sacramento. Heath Smith will try to qualify in the javelin and shot put while Mark Lee and Toby Edwards will try to make in the high jump. Brandi Stanfield will try to make it for the second year in a row in the triple jump. North Texas will also enter a women’s 4 x 400 meter relay team that will try to qualify for the NCAA Championships.