May 22, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Louisiana Tech enters NCAA postseason competition this week as its track and field program heads to the NCAA East Preliminary Championships on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The three-day meet begins Thursday and concludes on Saturday.
Tech boasts 17 qualifying marks in all, the second-most number of qualifiers in the state of Louisiana and in the Western Athletic Conference.
The Tech program has a come a long way since the WAC Outdoor Championships two weeks ago. Literally, as the WAC Championships were held in Moscow, Idaho and now the team heads for Florida. It is believed to be the longest distance any one team will have traveled from their conference meet to the NCAA prelims with Tech making the trek of over 2,780 miles.
Chelsea Hayes leads the Lady Techsters with three events as she will compete in the 100m dash, the long jump and the 4x100m relay. Hayes had also qualified for the 200m but is forgoing that race. Two weeks ago, the redshirt senior from New Orleans won four gold medals and for the fourth consecutive WAC Championship meet (indoors or outdoors) she was named the WAC Athlete of the Year. Hayes set a WAC record with 37.5 points scored in the meet.
Hayes is currently a four-time All-American and has the most All-America honors awarded any single female athlete to attend Louisiana Tech. Only Bryant Wesco (1997-2000) has claimed more All-America honors with five. Ranked second in the east in the 100m and long jump, Hayes has the chance to finish her collegiate career either tied or with the overall lead for all-America titles awarded any single Tech athlete.
Dennis Richardson, a product of Pride, La., is also entered in three events, competing in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay. A sophomore, Richardson was named the WAC Male Track Athlete of the Year two weeks ago in Idaho.
Micara Vassell will also compete in a pair of events, qualifying in the discus and the shot put. At the WAC Championships, she received first team all-conference honors with a third-place finish in the discus.
The top 48 individual marks and top 24 relays in the eastern half of the country qualify for the NCAA East prelims. Tech's athletes will be competing against the best of the SEC, ACC, Big East, Big Ten and all other top athletes east of the Mississippi River for the chance to advance to the NCAA Championships on June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Links to live results and more information on the NCAA East Prelims can be found at LATechSports.com.
For complete coverage of Tech Track and Field, please follow @LATechTandF on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.