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T&F: ECU sends 20 student-athletes to NCAA East Regional

Posted May 28, 2014

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The East Carolina track and field team is sending a program-best 20 student-athletes to participate in the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Preliminary Championships. The Pirates head to the East Regional which is hosted by North Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. The preliminary championship competitions will be held Thursday, May 29 – Saturday, May 31.

East Carolina will be represented by 12 men in 10 events and eight ladies in nine events. The men’s events which will feature the Pirates are the 200-meter dash, 110-meter hurdles, 4x100-meter relay, high jump, long jump, pole vault, triple jump, discus throw, hammer throw and javelin throw. The Pirate women will compete in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles, 4x100-meter, high jump, discus throw, hammer throw and javelin throw.

“We are very excited about the possibilities of what can come of this meet,” Head Coach Curt Kraft said. “We are going into this meet with some great times and marks. To move onto the National Championships in Eugene, Ore., the student-athletes have to be focused and ready to compete. If you don’t bring your ‘A’ game to this meet on that day, your season will end quickly. If they compete like I know they can, we should be okay. We have a lot of confidence and momentum from our conference meet from two weeks ago. It should be a great weekend for East Carolina Track and Field.”

Several Pirates will compete in multiple events at the NCAA East Regional. Junior sprinter Tyshonda Hawkins will take part in the women’s 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 4x100-meter relay. The Goose Creek, S.C., native is the school record holder in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.29 and she is part of the 4x100-meter relay team that owns the school standard with a time of 44.38.

Also running alongside Hawkins in the 4x100-meter relay will be senior Tania Minkins, senior Erin Tucker and freshman Jasmine Dawson. Minkins will also see action in the 200-meter dash, while Tucker will participate in the 100-meter hurdles. Minkins’ career-best time of 23.57 in the 200-meter dash ranks her second all-time at ECU, while Tucker is the school record holder in the 100-meter hurdles with a lifetime best time of 13.34.

Junior thrower Kayla Padgett will appear in a pair of field events as she qualified in the both the discus and hammer throws. A native of Shallotte, N.C., Padgett is the ECU record holder in the shot put (15.16m, 49’ 9”), discus throw (53.19m, 174’ 6”) and hammer throw (63.50m, 208’ 4”).

On the men’s side, sophomore Cameron Hudson qualified in three events. The Charlotte, N.C., native will hit the track in the 200-meter dash and the 4x100-meter relay. He will also compete in the field in the long jump. Hudson posted a personal-best time of 20.98 in the 200-meter dash earlier this season and was part of the men’s 4x100-meter relay squad that placed second at the Conference USA Outdoor Championships with a season-best time of 39.69. His distance of 7.86-meters (25’ 9.5”) in the long jump is tied for the school record which was set in 1985.

Joining Hudson in the 4x100-meter relay are teammates junior Michael Neal, redshirt senior Austin Lewis and senior Hunter Furr. The quartet won both the Carolina Relays (40.56) and the Bill Carson Invitational (39.89) earlier this year before earning Second Team All-Conference USA accolades.

In the field, sophomore Avion Jones will see action in the high jump. The Virginia Beach, Va., native set the ECU school record in the event earlier this year when he tallied a lifetime best mark of 2.21-meters (7’ 3”) at the Aggie Last Chance Meet en route to a first-place finish. Jones has won the high jump in four meets this season, most recently capturing the C-USA Outdoor Championship individual high jump title with a distance of 2.17-meters (7’ 1.5”) as he earned First Team All-Conference USA accolades.

Those that register qualifying times and marks at the NCAA East Regional will go on to compete in the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. The National Championship begins Wednesday, June 11 and concludes Saturday, June 14.

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