Coastal sends six athletes to NCAA track and field prelims

For the second time this season Coastal Carolina track and field athletes will compete at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium; however, this time a trip to the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships hangs in the balance as six Chanticleers compete in the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round from Thursday through Saturday, May 24-26 in Jacksonville.

Each of Coastal’s six student-athletes will be in search of their first career trip to the NCAA national meet.

Senior javelin specialist Jason Flanagan earned his third NCAA Preliminary Round (formerly known as the NCAA First and Second Rounds) appearance. Flanagan enters the meet seeded 10th in the javelin with a career-best measurement of 73.01m (239-06), which set the Big South all-time record, Coastal Carolina all-time record and Big South Championship meet record. Last season the Philadelphia, Pa., native finished 13th in the preliminary round with a final distance of 68.06m (223-03), narrowly missing qualifying for his first NCAA Championship meet by a mere six centimeters. As a sophomore, Flanagan placed 18th with a throw of 64.67m (212-2).

Big South Women’s Most Outstanding Track Performer Erica Peake is the highest seeded Chanticleer woman, earning the 29th seed in the 200m-dash. Peake, who is making her second consecutive NCAA Preliminary Round appearance, earned her way into the field with a gold-medal winning time of 23.70 at the Big South Track and Field Championships. The Spartanburg, S.C., product placed 18th overall in the 2011 East Preliminary Round with a season-best time of 24.07.

Kierra Gabe, the 2012 Big South Women’s Indoor and Outdoor Most Outstanding Field Performer is making her second postseason appearance in the high jump after placing 18th a year ago with a height of 1.75m (5-8.75). The senior enters the meet as the 34th seed in the high jump after clearing a school-record height of 1.76m (5-09.25) at the Big South Championship. She placed 18th a year ago with a height of 1.75m (5-8.75).

Senior Shantelle Patterson made great strides throughout her career to earn her first NCAA East Preliminary Round berth in the hammer throw. Patterson, a native of Pawleys Island, S.C., ranks 33rd in the hammer throw field with a qualifying mark of 56.55m (185-06), which she attained at the Auburn Tiger Track Classic.

Mary Lawrence qualified for her first postseason appearance with a cleared height of 3.85m (12-07.50) in the pole vault at the Auburn Tiger Track Classic. The senior is seeded 44th in the Preliminary Round field.

Freshman Danielle England rounds out the qualifying Chanticleers with a 45th seed in the women’s javelin. England, who qualified with a mark of 43.27m (141-11) at the season-opening CCU Invitational, is the first freshman to qualify for NCAA postseason competition in recent memory.

Flanagan will be the first Chant to compete as he takes to the javelin runway at 11 a.m. on Thursday. England will be the first woman to compete, making her NCAA debut at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. Lawrence is slated to compete at 11 a.m. on Friday followed by Gabe at 5 p.m. and Peake at 8:25 p.m. Patterson steps into the throwing circle at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Peake will climb into the starting block at 7:50 p.m., should she advance to the quarterfinal round.

Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, is the host site of the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships, June 6-9. The top 12 finishers in each event at the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round meet will advance to Des Moines. They will be joined in Des Moines by 12 qualifiers per event from the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round meet, which takes place in Austin, Texas.

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