A new era of NCAA track & field competition gets underway this weekend when the preliminary rounds of this year's national meet take place in Austin (West Region) and Greensboro, N.C. (East Region).
UTSA will send a total of 10 athletes (eight men/two women) to the Lone Star State's capital to compete in the three-day meet that begins on Thursday afternoon at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
Leading the way for the Roadrunners is three-time All-American Teddy Williams, who is scheduled to run both the 100- and 200-meter dashes.
The Tyler native enters the meet tied with Auburn's Marcus Rowland for the nation's top 100m time (10.03w/t-11th world this year) and his deuce clocking (20.63) ranks fourth in the West Region and is tied for 12th nationally. The 2010 Southland Conference Outdoor Outstanding Track Performer is coming off a victory in the 100m and runner-up finish in the 200m at the league meet two weeks ago. The 100m title was the ninth of his illustrious career (five indoor/four outdoor).
Junior Devon Bond, too, was a double qualifier.
The Trenton, N.J., native will compete in both the triple and high jumps, events he won at the Southland Outdoor. Bond has broken the program's triple jump record on three occasions this spring, the last coming two weeks ago when he skipped 52-10 ¾ (16.12m) for the nation's ninth-longest measurement (sixth in region). He also cleared 6-11 ¾ (2.13m) in winning the high jump and enters the meet with the 19th-best clearance in the region.
Freshman Keith Benford comes into the event ranked among the region's top 15 in the high jump with his 7-0 ½ (2.15m) winning leap established at last month's Mt. SAC Relays. That mark not only tied a UTSA record, but it also stands as the 14th-best measurement in the West Region (t-29th NCAA). The Pflugerville native is coming off a fourth-place performance at the conference meet.
Senior co-captain Johnathan Whittaker also qualified for the high jump, giving UTSA a meet-best three competitors in the 48-man field. The Houston native qualified for the event with his 6-9 ¾ (2.08m) clearance two weeks ago in a fifth-place finish at the Southland Outdoor. It has him in 46th place entering the preliminary round.
Freshmen Adam Hebert and Richard Garrett Jr. are entered in a pair of events.
Hebert will run in both short sprints, with his qualifying times of 10.61 (100m/45th West Region) and 21.21 (200m/32nd).
Garrett Jr. will compete in both the shot put and discus. His top shot measurement of the spring, a school-record 57-6 ½ (17.54m), came in a winning performance at the Victor Lopez Invitational in March, while his best discus toss was a 173-2 (52.79m) silver-medal effort two weeks ago at the conference meet. Those marks rank 21st and 45th, respectively, on the West Region leaderboard.
Two other first-year performers — Tyler Williamson and Peyton Vickers — will compete in the long jump.
Williamson is coming off a Southland Championship in which he recorded a personal-best 24-2 ¼ (7.37m), while Vickers broke the sand in a season-best 24-7 ¼ (7.50m) in a winning performance at last month's Trinity Alumni Classic. Vickers enters the meet ranked 28th in the region, while Williamson stands 44th.
Meanwhile, senior Jessica Jones (100m hurdles) and redshirt junior Dana Mecke (800m) will represent the Roadrunners women.
Jones won her third consecutive conference crown in the 100m hurdles two weeks ago in a personal-best 13.51, a time that ranks 22nd in the region. This marks the third year in a row that the Fresno native has advanced to NCAA postseason competition in the event.
Mecke, the 2010 Southland Outdoor Athlete of the Year, won her first-ever 800m league title in a personal-best 2:08.36 at this year's Southland Outdoor. The Bulverde native, who also was victorious in the 1,500m two weeks ago, comes into the meet with the region's 40th-best clocking.
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The top 48 marks in each region advance to the preliminary rounds and the fields will be whittled down to a dozen competitors per region who will advance to the NCAA Championships (June 9-13 in Eugene, Ore.).