Bears Prepare for NCAA Track & Field Championships in Des Moines
June 5, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Missouri State's Kimsue Grant (Jr., Arlington, Va.) and Althia Maximilien (Fr., Bridgetown, Barbados) will carry the Missouri State University banner to the NCAA Division I Championships here this week at Drake Stadium.
Maximilien will compete in the 400-meter dash semifinals starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday. She is one of just three freshman in the 24-person field. She was ranked 39th nationally headed into last week's NCAA preliminary rounds in Austin, Texas where she finished ninth with a mark of 53.38 in the quarterfinals.
The 400-meter semifinals will consist of three heats of eight runners. The top two finishers in each heat, plus the next two fastest times move on to the national finals on Friday at 7:02 p.m.
Grant has qualified in the triple jump, which will be contested in its entirety on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. She is one of 23 national qualifiers in that event after being ranked 18th headed into last week's meet in Austin. She finished 10th at the NCAA preliminary meet there with a top effort of 41 feet, 10.5 inches in Austin to advance to Des Moines.
"There are over 8,000 track athletes in Division I and top be in the top 25 in the nation in your event puts you in very elite company," said MSU head coach Ron Boyce who is in his 16th season with the Bears. "I'm extra excited for our two athletes, and I can't wait to see them compete in Des Moines."
Both Grant and Maximilien earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honors this season after finishing as runners-up in their respective events. Grant won the MVC long jump title but fell just one spot short of the national cut in that event last week in Austin by placing 13th. Both athletes were part of the MVC champion 4x100-meter relay team.
The Bears have picked up team points at the NCAA Division I national meet five teams, including a 33rd-place team showing in 2006. MSU's last individual national qualifier was Terry Phillips who placed 20th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2009 Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.