ETSU advances five on Saturday to NCAA Championship

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Johnson, women’s 4x100m relay team join Stepp in advancement

GREENSBORO, N.C. (May 25, 2013) – Five additional ETSU track & field student-athletes advanced to the NCAA Championships on Saturday at the NCAA East Region Preliminaries to move the total to six Buccaneers who will be vying for national championships in two weeks.

On ETSU’s final day at the Prelims at Irwin Belk Track inside of Aggie Stadium on the North Carolina A&T State University campus, the Bucs held nothing back and had their highest number of total advancers of the weekend.

Early in the afternoon, senior Jason Johnson (Philadelphia, Pa.) registered a mark of 15.40m, which notched him a ninth-place finish. Even with a stellar top-12 score that allowed him to advance to the NCAA Championships, Johnson’s best score wasn’t even on display. Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia native set an ETSU school record in the event at the Atlantic Sun Championships with a leap of 15.48m, so the opportunity exists for him to perform even better at the NCAA Championships.

In ETSU’s final event at the prelims, the women’s 4x100m relay team did not disappoint. After sneaking in to qualification for the Prelims, the quartet of Courtney Kinlaw (Myrtle Beach, S.C.), Keturah Williams (Alpharetta, Ga.), Karissa Bertling (New Port Richey, Fla.) and Emani Harrison (Columbia, S.C.) turned in their best with an ETSU school record time of 44.75 and a 10th-place finish in the event. Once again, the ladies snuck in to advancement by being among the top-12 overall and fourth in their heat.

“We had a very good final day at the NCAA East Prelims in Greensboro,” said ETSU Director of Track & Field/Cross Country George Watts. “Jason Johnson and the women’s 4x100m relay team competed with confidence and realized their goal of qualifying for the NCAA Championships.”

“Jason [Johnson] had his best series ever,” said Watts, “with all of his jumps over 50’.”

“The women’s relay team had to run from the outside lane,” said Watts, “and had flawless handoffs.” 

Meanwhile, freshman Verena Tobis (Hechingen, Germany) did not experience similar success in her event. The rookie hurler recorded a mark of 43.80m and a 25th overall standing in the javelin throw. Though she was unable to advance to the NCAA Championships, finishing in the top-25 in the East Region is no small feat for a true freshman who also won gold at the A-Sun Championships and earned First Team All-Conference honors in the javelin throw.

“Verena [Tobis] did not qualify,” said Watts, “but finished 14 places higher than her seeded mark.”

These five student-athletes join fellow Buccaneer Tyler Stepp (Dandridge, Tenn.) in their advancement to the NCAA Championships. The Championships 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.

“We are looking forward to our trip to Eugene,” said Watts, “and another opportunity to showcase ETSU track & field on the national level.”

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