Juarez improves chances to make NCAAs

From staff reports

Clayton College & State University 1500m runner Tony Juarez bettered his chances of qualifying for the NCAA Division II National Championships, and the Lakers men's and women's track & field teams shattered a handful of records Saturday at the Samford Twilight.

The event was held in Birmingham.For the second straight week, Juarez broke the school record in the 1500m run, recording a time of 3:52.77, almost a second lower than last week's time of 3:53.61 at the University of Alabama Huntsville meet.

His performance improves his NCAA provisional time and will more than likely improve his chances of making the national meet. The automatic qualifying time for the men's 1500m run in this year's NCAA Championships at Edwardsville, IL, is 3:47.00.Juarez placed second in the 27-man field, falling by less than a second to unattached runner Wayne de Minor. Juarez bettered 14 Division I runners in the event from schools such as the University of Alabama, the University of Auburn, Birmingham Southern College and Samford University.

"Tony's running with a lot of confidence and determination right now," said head coach Mike Mead. "I think running a couple of weeks ago at the Sea Rays Relays and seeing first hand that he can compete at the national level boosted his confidence and has helped him breakthrough in these last two meets."

Clayton State posted three school records in the meet and had several athletes record personal bests, led by sophomore Kim Daniel. Daniel placed third in the 3000m race with a new school record time of 10:47.62, breaking former runner Denny Rauch's record of 10:48.94 set in 2000.

Daniel also recorded a personal best time of 4:48.46 in the 1500m race, finishing fourth. She is less than eight seconds from provisionally qualifying for the national meet.

"Kim (Daniel) had the best meet of her young career," said Mead. "She improved her 1500m time by 10 seconds from last week, and if she can improve by eight more seconds, she will provisionally qualify for nationals."

Freshman Njoroge Ngaruiya broke the school record in the 3000m race, placing 12th with a time of 9:07.82. He bettered his own record set last week at the UAH Invitational by almost 12 seconds.

In other events for the women's squad, junior Aletha Binion won the discus with a throw of 110-feet-5 inches and placed fourth in the javelin with a toss of 89-feet-1 inch. Junior Penny Tinker finished 11th in the 800m run with a time of 2:34.11, followed by Stephanie Gilbert, 15th, with a time of 2:42.30.

Behind Daniel in the 1500m placed 11th with a time of 5:07.02, followed by Tinker in 15th with a time of 5:16.48 and Gilbert 16th at 5:17.04. Krehbiel finished sixth in the 3000m race with a time of 11:02.80.

On the men's side, sophomore Carlos Guyton finished fourth in the 400m dash with a time of 49.56 seconds. Juarez placed sixth in the 800m run with a time of 1:56.05, followed by sophomore Adil Berkhedle n eighth with a time of 1:56.31.

Junior Stephen Hughes ran a personal best time of 1:58.15 to finish 12th in the 800m, followed by sophomore Ron Robertson, recording a personal best time of 2:00.88, finishing 21st.

In the 100m dash, junior Elijah Ajayi finished 12th with a time of 11.35 seconds, followed by sophomore Lawrence Kelley in 16th at 11.69.

Ajayi and Kelley finished 11th and 18th in the 200m race with times of 22.83 and 23.92, respectively.

Behind Juarez in the 1500m race, Ngaruiya placed 13th with a time of 4:09.47, followed by freshman Shane Kersten in 24th with a time of 4:20.47 and sophomore Scribner Malloni 27th with a time of 4:29.86.

Berkhedle finished 14th in the 3000m run with a time of 9:24.68, followed by Kersten in 17th at 9:34.97 and Malloni in 18th at 10:07.27.

Clayton State's 4x400m relay team of Guyton, Ajayi, Hughes and Juarez placed third with a time of 3:25.36.

Ajayi finished ninth in the long jump with a distance of 19-feet-1-1/4 inch, while Jed Foster placed 13th in the javelin with a throw of 101-feet-10 inches.