UTSA women to begin NCAA Championships competition on Thursday
SAN ANTONIO — Nine members of the UTSA women's track & field team will begin competition in a total of eight events at the NCAA Championships Preliminary Rounds this weekend in Austin.
The three-day meet is scheduled to get underway on Thursday afternoon at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of The University of Texas. Click here for a complete meet schedule, while real-time results will be available here and a video stream here.
The Roadrunners have a Southland Conference-leading nine entries and they are led by sprinters Shahira Ehiemua and Jhorden Hunter, who both will compete in multiple events.
Ehiemua, the Southland Outdoor Freshman of the Year, is coming off a conference meet that saw her run the lead leg of UTSA's championship 400-meter relay that clocked the second-fastest time in league history (44.81) and it marked the second time the quartet set a school record this spring. The Missouri City native went on to place second in the 100m (11.71) and third in the deuce (23.91). Ehiemua qualified for both finals with personal bests in the preliminary heats (11.60/23.85) and she comes into this weekend's meet ranked in a 29th-place tie in the 100m and 30th in the 200m in the West Region standings. Meanwhile, the 400m relay stands 13th in the field of 24 foursomes. The first round of 100m is scheduled for 6:55 p.m. on Thursday, while the opening round of the deuce is slated for 8:25 p.m. the following night. The 400m relay will be contested at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Hunter will head into the meet following a pair of Southland titles two weeks ago. The sophomore from Missouri City edged Ehiemua by five one-hundredths of a second for gold in the 100m (11.66) and she ran the anchor segment of the 400m relay that posted the program's sixth all-time victory in the event (first since 2005). Her personal-best time of 11.47, set during the conference prelims, ranks in a 13th-place tie in the field of 48 sprinters.
Sophomore Krystal Wynn and freshman Chiugo Okonkwo make up the remaining half of the Roadrunners' sprint relay team.
Senior Dana Mecke will compete in the 800m at the national meet for the second time in her career. The Bulverde native is coming off a fourth-place finish at the Southland Championships, but she was victorious in the 1,500m. Her season-best clocking of 2:07.78, established at last month's Beach Invitational, stands 28th in the field and the first round of heats are scheduled to begin at 8:35 p.m. on Thursday. Mecke just missed a spot in the national semifinals two years ago after finishing 17th in the quarterfinal round.
Leading UTSA's four-woman field contingent is junior hammer thrower Katie Bragg. The Peachtree City, Ga., native won the Southland title with a league-record toss of 189-10 (57.86m) two weeks ago. Bragg has finished second or better in five of her seven outings this season and she comes into the weekend ranked 39th in the field. The event is slated to be contested at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The Roadrunners' other two league gold medalists — juniors Eboni Johnson (triple jump) and Zaquita McClanahan (shot put) — also will compete this weekend.
Johnson was victorious in the triple jump with a personal-best skip of 41-7 ¼ (12.68m) and her measurement added nearly a foot to her previous best established at last month's Bobcat Classic. It also marked the program's second title in the event and first in 20 years (Portia Matthews 1992). The Channelview native, who ranks 23rd in the region, will compete at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
McClanahan won UTSA's third shot put title in program history (first in 17 years) with a career-long measurement of 49-5 ½ (15.07m). The Hurst native won the event by more than a half foot and her mark bettered her previous best by more than seven inches. She stands in a 44th-place tie in the West Region standings and will compete at 1 p.m. on the opening day.
Rounding out the Roadrunners' entries is sophomore Greneshia Wright, who will compete in the long jump at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday. The Abilene native is coming off a fourth-place performance at the conference meet. She set a personal record of 19-11 ¾ (6.09m) at last month's Texas State Invitational and that mark has her 22nd in the field of 48 jumpers.