SC State Sends Eight to NCAA Track Regional at Gainesville, FL

Thursday, May 24, 2007

SC State Sends Eight to NCAA Track Regional at Gainesville, FL Natalie Dixon

GAINESVILLE, FL – Eight members of the South Carolina State track and field teams are among those student-athletes who qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Regionals, which get underway at four sites around the country Friday.

The SC State participants will compete at the East Regional Friday and Saturday (May 25-26) at the University of Florida, which is hosting the event for the second time in four years.

Earning the prestigious honor for Coach Ernest Tche’s team are junior quarter miler Natalie Dixon who competes in the 400 meters to be run Friday at 5:50 p.m.; junior Garrett Blakely, in the men’s 400 meters at 5:30 p.m.; and senior Randy Gooden, who will be in the 400-meter hurdles at 6:50 p.m.

Also, the men’s 4x100-meter relay team of senior Shawn Sergeant, junior Michael Brown, freshman Allen Hunter and sophomore Kenneth Rackins, which will compete Friday at 3 p.m. The alternates for the 4x100 for the Bulldogs are Gooden and senior Jason McNeil.

Dixon, a junior of Trinidad & Tobago, earned her way into the Regionals with a school-record mark of 52.22 in the 400 meters at the University of South Alabama (USA) Invitational at Mobile April 15. The clocking, the seventh-best mark in the East this year, erased her own school mark of 54.06 set last year at Winthrop.

Blakely’s best time in the 400 meters this year is 47.03, which is the 19th best time in the East, while Gooden’s time of 51.80 in the 400-meter hurdles is also 19th in the Region.

The Bulldog 400-meter relay team qualified with a 40.20 clocking, also at USA Invitational, the second-fastest time in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference at the time.

The top eight performers in each event Friday, with the exception of the 1500 meters (where 12 advance), will earn a spot in Saturday’s finals. And the top five finishers in all events Saturday, except in the relays, advance to the NCAA National, set for Sacramento, Calif. Jun. 6-9. The top three relay teams earn a trip to the California.