East Regional May
East RegionalMay 28, 2005
Randall's Island, N.Y. - The Florida State track and field men's squad won the 2005 NCAA East Regional Championship on Saturday, May 28, 2005 at Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island in New York. The meet came down to the men's 4x400m relay with FSU ahead of Florida 89-84. With a second place finish in the 1600m relay, the Seminoles held on to their lead, winning 96-94, for the first title in three years of competition. The 4x400m relay was comprised of senior Greg Johnson (Miami, Fla./FIU), freshman Elliott Wood (Sydney, Australia/Narrabean Sports), junior Rafeeq Curry (Miami, Fla./ACE Academy) and NCAA East Region 400m Champion freshman Ricardo Chambers, ran 3:05.58 for the second fastest time in the meet.
Freshman Ricardo Chambers (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) won the 400m dash in his second fastest time of the year, 45.64. The nation's leading 400m champion cruised to his first region championship adding ten points to the team score.
Just minutes before running the relay, Curry picked up his second NCAA East Region Triple Jump Championship, with an FSU all-time and regional meet record jump of 54'11.25" (16.75m). The five-time All-American heads to his third outdoor championship in as many seasons. Curry won the regional triple jump in 2003 during his freshman year. Teammate and senior captain Willie Johnson (Orlando, Fla./Edgewater) finished sixth in 50'10.25" (15.50m).
The women's 4x400m relay ran the best time this season, finishing first in the second heat and fifth overall in 3:38.50. First legs, junior Evelyne Cynthia Niako (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stone Mountain) and sophomore Dana Massiah (Trinidad & Tobago/Bishop Aenesty) kept the Seminoles in the top two spots through the first exchange. Getting the baton just three feet behind Clemson, junior Kim Adams (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stone Mountain) picked up the pace and passed Clemson's Sierra Hill on the third turn to hand off to junior anchor LaKendra McColumn (Lithonia, Ga./Southwest Dekalb) who cruised the final 400m for the heat win.
The men's 400m-relay had a strong second place finish, running 40.08 in the finals. The group, comprised of junior Derrick Baker (Miami, Fla./Northwestern), freshman Kenny O'Neal (Oakland, Calif./Skyline), senior Rhoan Sterling (Cambridge, Ontario/Toledo) and rookie Walter Dix (Coral Springs, Fla./Coral Springs), earned an automatic berth to the NCAA National Championships. The win moved FSU into first place with 32 points after seven events.
Dix became the second Seminole at the meet to win two regional titles in one meet, taking first in the 100m and 200m dashes. The 2005 ACC Performer of the Year crossed the line in 10.22 in the 100m. In his third race of the day, Dix moved into third on FSU's all-time list and broke the region record with a time of 20.23 in the 200m. It is Dix's fastest time this season.
After what seems to be a championship trend with a delay due to severe weather, South Carolina women's team claimed their second championship title this season, winning the NCAA East Regional Championship at Ichan Stadium on Randall's Island in New York, N.Y. on Saturday. The Gamecocks dominated the competition, totaling 102.25 points, 20.25 points ahead of runner-up Miami, with nine athletes and two relays advancing to the NCAA Championship. The men's team finished in a strong fourth place ahead of state rival Clemson, with five athletes advancing to the national championship.
"It was a fantastic track meet," said Head Coach Curtis Frye. "Our athletes did a wonderful job. It was a battle for our men to finish fourth and it was a goal coming into the competition for them to finish ahead of our state rival Clemson, who had a good meet. I'm really proud of them."
Starting off the final day of competition for the Gamecocks, senior All-American Chelsea Hammond finished tied for eighth in the high jump with a height of 5'7 ¼. However, the women's relays had a repeat performance of the SEC Championship, setting the tone by starting and ending the final day of competition in true championship fashion.
The foursome of All-Americans freshman Amberly Nesbitt, seniors Alexis Joyce, Erica Whipple and freshman Shalonda Solomon ran a close 4x100m relay early in the competition with Miami, who finished second with a time of 44.17. The Gamecocks, however, were not to be defeated, capturing the lead on the third leg and running away with the win on the anchor leg in 43.68.
Following the 4x100m relay, sophomore All-American Ronnetta Alexander and junior All-American Tiffany Ross-Williams ran a very competitive 100m hurdles that ended with both advancing to the NCAA Championship. Alexander, who ran her best performance of the season, finished second to North Carolina State's Ebony Foster, with a time of 13.29. Ross-Williams, who was seeded at No.1 in the region going into this weekend's competition, finished fifth with a time of 13.36.
The Gamecock success kept rolling as the women's team dominated the dashes. In the 400m dash, sophomore All-American Stephanie Smith ran an outstanding personal best to finish second in the event with a time of 51.54, advancing to nationals. Florida sophomore Tiandra Ponteen ran a meet record-breaking performance of 51.08 to claim first place. USC freshman All-American Natasha Hastings, who was seeded No. 1 in the event, ran 52.86 for seventh place.
The 4x100m relay foursome of Nesbitt, Joyce, Whipple and Solomon also represented the Gamecocks in the 100m final, with three advancing to the NCAA Championship by finishing 2-3-4. Leading the Gamecocks was Whipple who really stepped up her performance in true senior fashion this weekend in New York. Whipple had the second fastest time in the preliminaries and returned Saturday to finish second in the final with a time of 11.44, earning a trip to Sacramento. Solomon, who also ran 11.44, followed in third place, while Joyce ran 11.55 for fourth place. Nesbitt finished seventh for the Gamecocks with a time of 11.63.
-- Courtesy Florida State, South Carolina