Cross Country/Track and Field Assistant Coach
While the academic year is coming to a close here at New Mexico State, the Aggie women’s track and field team is preparing for the biggest competitions of the season. The WAC Championships are next on the schedule and take place May 10-13 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Then, a select few will move on to the first round of the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., a city popularly known as “Track Town USA.”
A total of 25 athletes will make the trip to Honolulu this year. This group includes 10 sprinters and jumpers, six distance athletes, six middle distance athletes and three throwers. Athletes who finish in the top 8 at the WAC Championships in each event will score points for the team, and those who place in the top 6 will earn All-WAC honors.
Several athletes have posted top performances in the WAC this year and they will battle for top honors at the championships. Local distance phenoms sophomores Camille and Courtney Schultz (Cloudcroft, N.M.) go into the meet ranking first and second in the WAC standings for the 10,000 meters, and third and second respectively in the 5,000 meters. From the sprints and jumps group, junior Jndia Cleveland (Phoenix, Ariz.) ranks third in the long jump, fourth in the 400-meter hurdles and fifth in the 100-meter hurdles. Representing the short sprints, the outstanding freshman Alishia Perkins (Dallas, Texas) ranks third in the 200 meter dash and fifth in the 100. Sophomore LaSasha Aldredge (Fresno, Calif.) takes care of the 400 meter dash where she ranks second, and finally, top thrower junior Bellosie Frazier (Mishawaka, Ind.) ranks third in the shot put. Not to be forgotten, the Aggies’ 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams will duke it out with perennial sprint powerhouse Louisiana Tech for podium finishes as well.
After what will hopefully be an outstanding WAC meet for the Aggies, the team’s top performers will move on to the first round of the NCAA Championships. In order to qualify for this extremely selective meet, athletes must have a mark that ranks them within the top 48 of their respective events inside the NCAA West Region. This region is essentially comprised of all NCAA Division I track and field teams west of the Mississippi River. Qualifying is extremely tough, and once there, the competition will be some of the best in the nation.
Currently, the Aggies have four women who are in good position to qualify. According to the latest NCAA West Region standings, Cleveland is ranked 31st in the long jump and 37th in the 400-meter hurdles, Camille Schultz is ranked 33rd, while her sister Courtney ranks 34th in the 10,000 meters, and Aldredge is ranked 47th in the 400 meter dash. Should these four women qualify, they will comprise the largest NM State track and field contingent ever competing at the NCAA meet.
So even as the NM State track and field team closes the book on the 2011 academic year, some important tests still await on the track.