LA Tech Track & Field Qualifies Eight for NCAA East Prelims
May 23, 2018
TAMPA, Fla. - Louisiana Tech Track and Field has qualified eight entries into the 2018 NCAA East Preliminary Track and Field Championships, which is set to begin this Thursday, May 24 at the USF Track and Field Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The eight student-athletes competing in Tampa this week marks a total of 130 qualifying entries Louisiana Tech has produced since the east and west preliminary championship format began in 2010. Eight entries mark the most for LA Tech head coach Gary Stanley and his squad since the team had 16 entries in 2015.
LA Tech will be represented by Gregory Ballard (pole vault), Cole Courtois (pole vault), Jelaani Davis (triple jump), Tyler Griggers (javelin), Denzel Harper (long jump), Sharone Johnson (400m hurdles), Melody Korie (long jump) and Shelby Smith (long jump) at this weekend's preliminary events. The 2018 NCAA East Preliminary Championships are being hosted by the University of South Florida and Tampa Bay Sports Commission.
The 2018 NCAA East Preliminary Championships will begin Thursday afternoon and run through Saturday, May 26. The top 12 qualifiers in each event from the NCAA East and West Preliminaries advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which will be held June 6-9 in Eugene, Oregon.
LA Tech will have a pair of pole vaulters kick off the action at 8:30 a.m. CT on Thursday morning in Tampa with freshman Cole Courtois and senior Gregory Ballard representing the Bulldogs in the preliminary round. Courtois enters the preliminary championships ranked 25th in the east with his first-place mark of 17-7.25 (5.37m) that earned him a gold medal at the C-USA Outdoor Championships. Ballard’s mark of 16-8.75 (5.10m) at the SFA Carl Kight Invitational earned him entry into this week’s preliminaries.
Sophomore transfer Denzel Harper also gained entry to the East Preliminary Championships in the long jump competition, which is set to get underway at 2:30 p.m. CT on Thursday afternoon in Tampa. Harper qualified with his second-place jump of 25-10.75 (7.89m) at the C-USA Outdoor Championships, which ranks 20th in the east. Jelaani Davis, another freshman for LA Tech, will compete in the triple jump at 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday after his qualifying jump of 50-2.5 (15.30m) at the LSU Alumni Gold meet last month.
The final male entry for Louisiana Tech is junior thrower Tyler Griggers, who will compete in the javelin competition at 12:30 p.m. CT after his qualifying mark of 209-8 (63.91m) at the Ragin’ Cajun Classic in March.
On the women’s side, LA Tech qualified two entries in the long jump with freshman Shelby Smith and junior Melody Korie representing the Lady Techsters at 5:30 p.m. CT on Thursday on the campus of South Florida. Both Smith and Korie qualified for the preliminary championships after respective jumps of 20-4.25 (6.20m) and 20-2.25 (6.15m) at the Leon Johnson NSU Invitational in late April.
LA Tech qualified one entry in running events at this week’s preliminaries with freshman Sharone Johnson competing in the women’s 400m hurdles at 12 p.m. CT on Thursday. Johnson qualified after posting a time of 59.65 at the LSU Alumni Gold meet on April 21.
Fans will be able to watch live coverage of both NCAA outdoor track and field preliminaries by signing up for a monthly FloTrack subscription. Live results will also be available at www.ncaa.com.
Three-day all-session passes are $35 per person, single-session tickets are $15 per person and all children two-years-old and younger will receive free admission. Group tickets (10 or more) are also available upon request.
For complete coverage of Louisiana Tech Track and Field and Cross Country, please follow @LATechTFXC on Twitter or visit the official home of Louisiana Tech Athletics at LATechSports.com.
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