May 21, 2013
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NEW ORLEANS - The 2013 NCAA track and field championship season will get underway Thursday (May 23), as Missouri State will send six student-athletes to compete at the West region preliminary round site in Austin, Texas.
"It's one round at a time, one race at a time, one event at a time," director of track & field and cross country Ronald Boyce said. "If you can get to that meet and perform as well as you did to get there, you'll be surprised and beat a lot of people.
"For Missouri State, we go to represent well and try to do a little better than we did last time. We'll try to out-do everybody else in every other color uniform."
As a team, the Bears are ranked 114th in the country among 193 Division I women's squads, and have vaulted 27 spots in the rankings in the last two weeks.
Five of Missouri State's competing student-athletes are nationally ranked by the USTFCCCA.
Shavonne Husbands (Fr., St. Philip, Barbados) is ranked 40th in the country in the 200-meter dash, and will hit the starting blocks at 8 p.m. on Friday. Husbands, seeded 19th, qualified for next week's competition by running a personal-best 23.53 at the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Championships last weekend.
Althia Maximilien (So., Bridgetown, Barbados) is making her second trip in as many years to nationals and will compete in the 400-meter dash at 7:20 p.m. on Thursday. The two-time USTFCCCA All-American is ranked 38th nationally and qualified for the event as a 19 seed after running a 53.25 at the conference meet.
Another piece of the Bears' future, Oarabile Babolayi (Fr., Mosetse, Botswana), qualified for the NCAA prelims in the 400-meter hurdles and is scheduled for first-round competition at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. The 39th-seeded Babolayi picked up All-MVC distinction for the event with her personal-best time of 59.67 at the MVC outdoor meet.
Kimsue Grant (Sr., Arlington, Va.) and Robiann Broomfield (Fr., Clarendon, Jamaica) will represent the Bears in jumps. Grant will make her fourth NCAA trip and qualified for two jumping events thanks to her individual championships at the MVC meet. She is slated to compete at 6 p.m. Thursday in the long jump, in which she's ranked 15th nationally and earned a No. 9 seed in the West.
Grant will also carry a No. 34 ranking in the triple jump with a mark of 12.79 meters to get a 15 seed in that event. The first round of the triple jump competition will take place Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Broomfield will head to nationals ranked 41st in the country and seeded 17th in the triple with a distance of 12.73 meters, set in April at the Mississippi Open. That distance led the league until Grant topped it at the conference championships.
The Bears' 4x100-meter relay team of Husbands, Grant, Maximilien, and Pernell Joseph (Jr., Vieux Fort, St. Lucia) also met the qualifying criteria and will compete in Austin on Saturday at 6 p.m. as the No. 22 seed. The group is ranked 46th in the country after running a season-best time of 45.40 at the MVC meet to make the cut for nationals.
Grant, Joseph and Maximilien have competed at the NCAA outdoor regionals in the past. That experience will benefit the team's three competing freshmen, Boyce said.
"It's always good to have the experience. They can guide (the freshmen) through," Boyce said. "When you go to a meet like that, the pressure will mount. The pressure is high."
For sprint events, the top three from each of the six first-round heats plus the next six fastest times advance to the quarterfinals. In jumps, the best 16 marks will qualify from the first round of three preliminary attempts to the final round of three tries. The top 12 advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.
In relays, the top three times from the three quarterfinal heats, plus the next three fastest times advance to the NCAA Championships in Eugene.
The NCAA East regional site this season is Greensboro, N.C.