RICHMOND, Va. – Indiana is known as the "Hooiser State" because it's passion for basketball. However, next weekend, track & field will be the sport of choice as the region's best athletes descend upon Bloomington for the NCAA Track & Field East Preliminary Round.
Among those making the trip to the Midwest will be three members of the Virginia Commonwealth University track & field program. Seniors DeAngelo Wilson (100-meter dash) and Quina Fortune (200-meter dash) will be joined by junior Julia Anyaugo (discus). It is the first time since 1997 that the women's squad will have multiple NCAA participants.
"These three athletes worked extremely hard to get to this point and it's great to see them get rewarded with a chance to compete against some of the region's best," Head Coach Jon Riley said. "This is a trend that we expect to continue in our programs for many years to come."
The NCAA Preliminary Rounds take the top 48 in each individual event into the first round of action, which will take place on Thursday and Friday of next week. Out of the first round, 16 competitors will advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals, which will take place on Friday and Saturday. The top 12 finishers will then advance to NCAA Championships on June 8-11th at Drake University.
Fortune actually had numbers to land in the 100 and 200 meter, but decided to focus her efforts on the 200, where she currently has the 13th fastest time at 23.38, which she ran at the Vanderbilt Invitational on April 22.
Anyaugo has been quite a story for the Black & Gold this spring, breaking through in the discus and setting a school record in the event three times this year. Throughout the course of the outdoor season, the Sterling, Va. native increased the school record by more than 23 feet. She will go through qualifying on Saturday in Bloomington.
She is the first female thrower to ever reach the NCAA postseason events.
On the men's side, Wilson shined in his final season as a Ram, earning a spot in the 100 with a time of 10.40 at the 2011 CAA Championships. This will be his third NCAA appearance, as he ran in the 100 and 4x1 meter relay during his freshman season at VCU and the 100, 200 and 4x1 meter relay in his sophomore year.
Junior Jazlynn Finney was less than an inch away from making it a quartet of Rams heading to Indiana, but she finished just two spots out of the preliminary round.
For a full schedule of events, check out here.