Ten Jackets Head To NCAA East Regionals

Shawn Roberts will be making his first appearance at the NCAA East Regionals

May 24, 2011

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ATLANTA - Ten Georgia Tech track and field athletes will make their way to Bloomington, Ind. for the NCAA East Regional Championships in hopes of advancing onto the NCAA Championship. The meet will kick off on Thursday, May 26 and will continue until Saturday, May 28 at the Robert C. Haugh Track & Field Complex on the campus of Indiana University.

The Yellow Jackets are coming off of a successful weekend at the UNF Invitational where many season bests and a handful of career bests were set. A few athletes made the most of their "last chance weekend" helping themselves into the NCAA regional.

Earning a spot in the East Regional are Melanie Akwule, Mary Kate DuBard, Leslie Njoku, Julienne McKee, Joanna Wright, Jonathan Gardner, Antonio McKay, DJ McMillan, Shawn Roberts, and Aaron Unterberger.

Akwule, a junior who will be competing in her second straight East Regional Championships, reached the meet by setting a season best time of 13.66 seconds in the 100 meter hurdles at the Florida State Seminole Invitational. Her career best in the event is 13.57 seconds, set last year at the East Regionals.

Dubard is also a junior who will be competing in her second straight East Regional, this time in the 10,000 meter run. Last year, she was unable to finish the run. Dubard has set a career best time in the 10k this season at the World Famous Penn Relays where she finished in 35:31.99 knocking over 20 seconds off of her ACC time. Currently she ranks 46th in the country.

Njoku is the highest ranked track athlete for the Jackets, earning an 11th place ranking with a career best time of 57.64 seconds in the 400 meter hurdles, set at the North Florida Invitational. The senior has been on a tear as of late and enters the meet coming off of back-to-back first place finishes recorded at the Penn Relays and UNF Invite.

McKee, the lone Jacket to be competing in two events at the meet will take part in both the long and the triple jump. McKee also holds an 11th place ranking, but in the triple jump and comes into the meet ranked 38th in the long jump. Just a freshman, McKee has set career best marks of 12.89 meters in the triple jump at the ACC Championships while notching a leap of 6.05 meters in the long jump at the FSU Seminole Invite.

Wright is the highest ranked Jacket at the meet and enters with a third place east ranking in the pole vault. The senior, who has had a career season, starting off with three first place finishes in a row, set school record after school record ultimately topping out at 4.31 meters at the Seminole Invitational. She is currently the highest ranked ACC pole vaulter at the meet.

On the men's side of things, Gardner used his "last chance" at the UNF Invite to propel himself into the East Regional leaping to a career best 15.34 meter mark, beating his previous career best by nearly three-quarters of a meter (14.69). Gardner currently ranks 36th entering the meet.

McKay, a senior who has only competed once in the 400 meter dash this season set a near career best time at the UNF Invite of 46.67 seconds to help himself into the regionals. His mark ranks him 21st in the east entering the meet.

McMillan, like his counterpart Dubard on the women's side, enters the meet 46th in the country in the 10,000 meter run, just squeaking into the meet during his senior campaign. McMillan earned a spot after finishing with a time of 30:06.96 at the Penn Relays, knocking 24 seconds off of his time from ACCs.

Shawn Roberts, who opened up the outdoor season with a top-10 time in the country, has continued to improve during his sophomore campaign earning a spot in the East Regionals for the first time in his career. Roberts currently ranks 32nd in the East in the 1500 meter run with a career best time of 3:46.22 recorded at the UNF Invite.

Last but not least is Unterberger, who, as a sophomore, has already broken the Tech pole vault record helping himself to a 40th place east ranking. Unterberger's recorded a career best height of 5.05 meters at both the Auburn Track Classic and FSU Invitational this season.

The Jackets will begin action on Thursday, May 26 when McKee begins things in the women's long jump.

 

Thursday, May 26
1:00 p.m. Women's Long Jump Qualifying Julienne McKee
3:30 p.m. Women's 400m Hurdles First Round Leslie Njoku
5:00 p.m. Men's 1500m Run First Round Shawn Roberts
6:00 p.m. Women's Pole Vault Qualifying Joanna Wright
7:00 p.m. Men's 400m Dash First Round Antonio McKay Jr.
8:30 p.m. Women's 10,000m Run Semifinal Mary Kate DuBard
9:15 p.m. Men's 10,000m Run Semifinal D.J. McMillan
Friday, May 27
1:00 p.m. Women's Triple Jump Qualifying Julienne McKee
4:30 p.m. Women's 100m Hurdles First Round Melanie Akwule
5:45 p.m. Men's 400m Dash Quarterfinal Antonio McKay Jr.
6:00 p.m. Men's Triple Jump Qualifying Jonathan Gardner
6:00 p.m. Men's Pole Vault Qualifying Aaron Unterberger
7:00 p.m. Women's 400m Hurdles Quarterfinal Leslie Njoku
Saturday, May 28
6:45 p.m. Men's 1500m Run Quarterfinal

Shawn Roberts

7:05 p.m. Women's 100m Hurdles Quarterfinal Melanie Akwule