Maul, 4x100-Meter Relay Team Earn At-Large Bid to NCAA
June 3, 2005
NORMAL, Ill. - After competing in the Mideast Regional at Indiana University May 27-28, five Illinois State athletes will continue competition as they earned at-large bids to the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif., June 8-11. Lauren Maul and the women's 4x100-meter relay team will represent the Redbirds at the championship meet.
According to head track and field coach Elvis Forde, the 4x100-meter relay team and Maul will be up against some of the toughest competition not only in the nation but also in the world.
"This is not going to be a cake walk," said Forde. "The NCAA Championship is the best national meet around the world. There will be many athletes from other countries competing, and it will be a solid meet across the board. It'll obviously be a challenge for our kids and they will really have to step it up. We are going to have to take it one step at a time in terms of the prelims and advancing to the finals."
Maul will compete in the triple jump at the NCAA Championships after a seventh place finish in the Mideast Regional meet. Maul recorded a personal best with a jump of 41-4.50. Her mark places her second on the Redbird All-Time Best List behind Illinois State assistant track and field coach LaShawna Mapp. Maul will compete in the preliminaries of the triple jump Friday, June 10 at 7:30 p.m.
"Lauren will be competing in an event that she has not had much experience and training in," said Forde. "However, she competed well in the regional meet without having the training and experience to compete at the level she did. The NCAA's will be a good experience for her going into next year and will be a good way to build her confidence. Lauren will also really have to step up her performance, which she is very capable of doing."
Also receiving an at-large bid is the 4x100-meter relay team of Anna Lovell, Lian Lucas, Cherise Devers and Lyn Cox. At the regional meet the team finished sixth with a time of 44.95. The preliminaries of the 4x100-meter relay will be run on Wednesday, June 8 at 4 p.m.
To earn an at-large bid to the championship meet, relay teams and athletes are chosen from a national pool based on their performance and times throughout the year and also their performance at the regional meet. Athletes must compete in their respective regional meet and advance to the finals to be a contender for an at-large bid. To be an automatic qualifier from the regional meet, athletes must place in the top five in their individual event or be in the top three in the relay events.
Competing in the NCAA Championships is a great accomplishment for the Redbirds, but Forde feels that the main focus of the season is on the Valley Championships. Making to the NCAA's is good experience that can be taken into next season.
"The focus of our season is the conference championships. It's icing on the cake for those athletes who qualified for the NCAA Championships," added Forde. "I put all of my energy and resources on the Valley Championships, and qualifying for the NCAA Championships is more for the athletes than about our program."