May 31, 2003
SAN DIEGO - San Diego State track and field automatically qualified two individuals and one relay for next month's national championship meet Saturday at the NCAA West Regional, hosted by Stanford University. As a team, the Aztecs placed eighth overall with 39 points at the Cobb Track and Angell Field.
Juniors Nicole Ireland (Las Vegas, Nev.) and Tonette Dyer (Shreveport, La.) both garnered trips individually, before running legs on the Aztecs' 4x400 relay, which placed third to also earn an invitation to the NCAA championships.
Dyer was the big winner for the Aztecs, finishing second in the 200 and 400 meters to make her second consecutive trip to the NCAA meet. The All-American posted a time of 52.93 in the 400 meters, before crossing the finish line in the 200-meter race in 23.77, just 0.05 seconds behind first place Miya Edmonson of USC.
Ireland, competing in five events on the day, was the runner-up in her specialty, the 400-meter hurdles. The junior transfer improved her own Mountain West Conference record in the event, finishing in 56.60. Ireland easily beat both her previous career best and conference record of 57.30, while her finals' time was almost three seconds faster than her preliminary effort of 59.42.
In the final event of the day, the Aztec 4x400 relay of senior Jini Hogg (San Francisco, Calif.), Ireland, Dyer and junior Hollann Givens (San Diego, Calif.) turned in the second-fastest time in school history of 3:34.47, taking third in the second heat behind UCLA and Washington State. SDSU beat out fourth place USC, which won the first heat in 3:37.05, for the final automatic invitation to the NCAA meet.
Other Aztecs competing in the finals Saturday included junior Candace Hill (San Diego, Calif.) in the discus (18th - 150-07), senior Melinda Smedley (Stockton, Calif.) in the 200 meters (1:04.70) and the 4x100 relay squad (5th - 45.67). Smedley was limited by a slight strain of her right hamstring, suffered in the preliminaries of the 100 meters Friday afternoon.
SDSU heptathletes senior Leslie Miller (Humble, Texas) and freshman Shanon Meyer (Hesperia, Calif.) are both expected to join Ireland, Dyer and the 4x400 relay at the NCAA meet. Miller automatically qualified in the event, while Meyer has the 10th-best point total nationally. The heptathlon and 10,000 meters were the only two events to directly qualify to the NCAA championships and were not contested at the regional level.
The top-five finishers in each individual event and the top three relays from each of the four NCAA regions earned automatic berths to the national championship meet. The rest of the field will be filled by the next highest ranking individuals not to earn automatic berths, leaving the door open for more Aztecs to compete at the NCAAs, slated for June 11-14 in Sacramento, Calif.
2003 SDSU Automatic Qualifiers For the NCAA Championship Meet
2003 NCAA West Regional Championships