Smith Breaks School Record, Advances To NCAA Champ.
LINCOLN, Neb. (5/31/08) ? For the fourth consecutive year, the University of North Texas track and field team qualified an athlete for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Ciara Smith finished fifth in the 400-meter dash Saturday at the NCAA Midwest Regionals to earn a trip to
“I told the kids afterwards that I couldn’t be any more proud of the way that they competed this weekend,” said head coach Rick Watkins. “This is by far one of the toughest regions in the country, so we have nothing to be ashamed of.”
One day after breaking the school record in the 400-meter dash during yesterday’s prelims, Smith provided an encore performance in Saturday’s finals. Smith, a sophomore from Round Rock, Texas, clocked in with a new school-record mark of 53.41 to become the first ever North Texas athlete to earn a trip to the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter dash.
Smith teamed with Shayla Hart, Chi Chi Echebelem, Chrystal Mitchell in the 4X400 relay to notch the Mean Green’s second school record of the day. The women’s 4X400 quartet bested the school record by more than two seconds to earn first place in their heat with a time of 3:37.18. The Mean Green finished fifth overall, two spots away from a trip to the NCAA Championships.
“Our qualifying time was just a few tenths of a second off being seeded in the faster heat,” Watkins said. “Had we been in the second heat, we might have had a chance in finishing amongst the top three, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
The men’s 4X400 relay team, the 2008 Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Champions, clocked in with a season-best time of 3:08.37 to finish eighth overall. Both 4x100 relay teams were also in action for the Mean Green during Saturday’s finals. The men’s relay team placed seventh overall, while the
Alysha Adams, the 2008 SBC Indoor and Outdoor Freshman of the Year, capped off an excellent freshman campaign with a seventh place finish in the 100-meter hurdles. Brandi Stanfield was the lone field event athlete competing Saturday for the Mean Green. Stanfield, a junior from
1. Jessica Beard (Texas A&M) - 51.47
5. Ciara Smith (North Texas) - 53.41-NCAA QUALIFIER-SCHOOL RECORD
1. Latoya Greaves (Oklahoma) - 13.17
7. Alysha Adams (North Texas) - 13.98
1. Texas A&M - 43.42
8. North Texas - 45.94
1. Baylor - 3:33.71
5. North Texas - 3:37.18-SCHOOL RECORD
1. Blessing Okagbare (Texas-El Paso) - 45.10.00
T14. Brandi Stanfield (North Texas) - 41-01.00
1. Texas A&M - 38.93
7. North Texas - 40.51
1. Baylor - 3:03.19
8. North Texas - 3:08.37