ETSU to send 11 to NCAA East Prelims

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Seven will compete in individual events, one team in relay event

GREENSBORO, N.C. (May 23, 2013) – Following a pair of finishes in the top-three overall at the 2013 Atlantic Sun Championships two weeks ago, 11 members of the ETSU men’s and women’s track & field teams will travel to Greensboro to compete in the NCAA East Regional Preliminaries, May 23-25, at Irwin Belk Track inside of Aggie Stadium on the North Carolina A&T State University campus.

The preliminary field includes student-athletes who are among the top 48 in their region in their event(s). For ETSU, seven student-athletes will compete in individual events, while an additional four will compete as members of the women’s 4x100m relay team.

On the men’s side, participating Buccaneers include Ifrish Alberg (Paramaribo, Suriname) in the 100m dash, Jason Johnson (Philadelphia, Pa.) in the triple jump, and the trio of Tyler Stepp (Dandridge, Tenn.), Ryan Beaver (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Diego Lawrence (Waxhaw, N.C.) in the long jump.

For the women, Dede Edgecombe (Spartanburg, S.C.) will compete in the 100m hurdles, while Verena Tobis (Hechingen, Germany) will participate in the javelin throw. The Lady Bucs are also sending their 4x100m relay team to the prelims, consisting of the foursome of Courtney Kinlaw (Myrtle Beach, S.C.), Keturah Williams (Alpharetta, Ga.), Karissa Bertling (New Port Richey, Fla.) and Emani Harrison (Columbia, S.C.).

The top-12 finishers in each event at the East Preliminary Rounds will then move on to the NCAA Championships, which are hosted by the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., June 5-8, at Hayward Field. In Eugene, participants will face fellow competitors from the West Region who advanced in the same manner.

"This weekend's competition will show how far our program has improved over the past year," said ETSU Director of Track & Field/Cross Country George Watts. "We have 11 competitive individuals vying for a chance to go to Eugene for the NCAA Championships."

If each student-athlete reflects its standing in the East Region at the prelims, there will be a number who will sit in prime position to move on to the NCAA Championships. Headlining the Buccaneers is one-third of the men’s long jump threesome; junior Stepp. The jumper currently sits at No.7 in the NCAA East Region in the event after leaping a personal best 7.80m at the Sea Ray Relays on April 11.

In the men’s 100m dash, senior Alberg has a good a shot as any to show he is one of the best in his event in the region with his No.12 ranking in the East. The speedster hopes to continue the momentum after racing to a gold medal, personal best time of 10.29 at the 2013 A-Sun Outdoor Championships a few weeks ago. This mark was a new Atlantic Sun Conference record in the event and surpassed his Surinamese national record set earlier in the season of the fastest ever time in the 100m in his native country.

The theme of success in men’s jumps events continues with Johnson posted at No. 13 in the region in the men's triple jump. Following notching a personal best launch of 15.48m at the 2013 A-Sun Championships which garnered him silver, the senior hopes to continue his final season at ETSU with a trip to the NCAA Championships.

The women feature strong competitors with lofty regional rankings as well. Sophomore Edgecombe stands at No. 35 in the region after a achieving her personal best of 13.60 in the 100m hurdles at the Raleigh Relays on April 11. Fellow sophomore Tobis presently sits at No. 43 in the javelin throw in the East following her personal best toss of 44.81m at the Radford Invitational on April 26.

In the 4x100m relay, the Lady Bucs’ Kinlaw, Williams, Bertling and Harrison quartet rank No. 38 in the region after setting an ETSU school record in the event with a silver medal winning time of 45.29 at the 2013 A-Sun Outdoor Championships on May 10. Kinlaw, too, aims to continue her senior season and Blue and Gold career at the NCAA Championships in Oregon.

On Thursday, the long jump trio will be competing in the first round at 1 p.m., followed by Alberg in action in the 100m dash first round at roughly 7 p.m.

Friday includes Edgecombe and the women’s 100m hurdles beginning at 5 p.m., with the men’s 100m quarterfinal at 6:45.

The women’s javelin throw featuring Tobis will start at noon on Saturday; trailed by Johnson and the men’s triple jump at 1 p.m. At 6 p.m. the women’s 4x100m relay team will be in action, followed by ETSU’s final action in the prelims with the women’s 100m hurdles quarterfinal at 7:05 p.m.

"I believe we have some student-athletes that are ready to take the next step," said Watts. "If we compete hard, we will make more improvement and give ourselves a chance to have representation in two weeks."

Meet information and the events schedule for the NCAA East Region Preliminaries can be accessed by visiting NCA&TAggies.com. Heat sheets and live results are available through FlashResults.com. Complete recaps of ETSU’s performances will be available following Thursday, Friday and Saturday’s events at ETSUBucs.com.

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