By Holly Weber, TTU Sports Information
OXFORD, Ala.—After two days of competition, the Tennessee Tech track and field team currently stand in tenth place with 16 points, however, have numerous athletes that have qualified for the finals of their events on Saturday.
"I think that it's going to be an exciting meet tomorrow," head coach Wayne Angel said. "We have some very strong events and it will really come down to who has the better day and who wants it the most."
Eastern Illinois leads the women with 59 points, while Austin Peay stands in second with 43.33 points and Southeast Missouri is in third with 36 points. SIUE is currently in fourth with 35.33 points, while Jacksonville State is in fifth with 29.33 points and Murray State is in sixth with 28.5 points. Rounding out the competition is Tennessee State in seventh (26), Belmont in eighth (19.5), and Eastern Kentucky in ninth (19).
Na'Asha Robinson claimed a first-place finish in the preliminary round of the 400-meter. N. Robinson recorded a time of 53.64, while D'Airrien Jackson placed second overall with a 54.83 mark. Fellow Golden Eagle Jaydean Joseph also qualified for the finals, finishing fifth with a time of 56.29.
N. Robinson also earned a place in the finals in the 200-meter dash when she recorded a second-place time of 24.02 in the prelims of the race. She clocked in less than one second behind the lead runner from Murray State who recorded a time of 23.68. Sharnique Leonce also earned a qualifying spot in the finals of the race when she placed fourth overall with a 24.31 mark.
Micayla Rennick placed fourth in the 3K steeplechase with a time of 10:54.69, which topped the Golden Eagle school record she set earlier in the season of 11:13.66. Eastern Kenucky's Ciara Scott won the race finishing with a time of 10:36.67. Purity Murray also competed in the event placing 12th with a time of 12:04.88, while Jenna Storms placed 14th with a time of 12:11.65.
"Micayla came through with some valuable points in the 3K steeplechase on her way to a new school record," Angel continued. "The duo of Sharnique and NaScottisha were awesome today as well placing third and fourth in the high jump."
Crystal Liebenberg recorded a personal-best and school record time of 1:03.11 in the prelims of the 400-meter hurdles, which placed her seventh overall and earned her a spot in the finals race on Saturday.
"I was very pleased with how we performed as a team today," Angel remarked. "That was the tell-tale sign of our commitment and camaraderie as a team. We had some outstanding performances today with Na'Asha leading the way in the 200 and 400 meters and Crystal Liebenberg recording a school-record time to qualify in the 400-meter hurdles. Kudos go out to all of our other qualifiers: Sarah Brandt, D'Airrien Jackson, Jaydean Joseph, and Sharnique Leonce. We will have great momentum going into the final day with the addition of the 1,500-meter, 5,000-meter, triple jump, javelin, 4x100-meter and 4x400-meter relays."
Sarah Brandt placed fourth in the prelims of the 800-meter run. Brandt recorded a time of 2:10.91 to qualify for the finals. Jackson, Madison Stremler, and Andrea Retano also competed in the race, however, just missed out on notching a spot in the finals. Jackson recorded a time of 2:16.68 to finish 11th, while Stremler finished with 13th-place time of 2:17.11 and Retano recorded a time of 2:35.05 to place 24th.
Leonce placed third in the high jump with a 1.65-meter leap, while teammate NaScottisha Drummond placed fourth recording the same height. Leonce also competed in the prelims of the 100-meter hurdles where she earned a spot in the finals when she placed fifth with a time of 14.11. Eshe Robinson also competed in the event, but came up short of a qualifying position when she placed 17th overall with a time of 15.99.
Leonce withdrew from the remainder of the heptathlon events, while teammate Eshe Robinson placed ninth overall with 3,838 points. She recorded a long jump of 4.50 meters, a 26.70-meter javelin, and a time of 2:52.82 in the 800-meter run.
"There were a few places that I was hoping to score, but that's track and field, you take what you can get," Angel said. "But when you add it up across the board, the ladies have put themselves in a position to do something special tomorrow. You can't score if you're not in the finals. Tech took care of that this evening."
Photos by Thomas Corhern