May 31, 2003
FAIRFAX, VA – Three members of Clemson men’s track and field team automatically qualified for the 2003 NCAA Track and Field Championships on Saturday at the East Region Championships held on the campus of George Mason University. Airese Currie, Itay Magidi will join George Kitchens and Rick Hill at the NCAA Championships to be held June 11-14 at California State University in Sacramento. Otto Spain, Terrance McDaniel and the Tigers’ 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams await a possible at-large bid. Those bids will be extended to six-to-eight athletes in individual events as well as several teams in the relay events, and up to should be announced by Tuesday.
In the team race, Clemson finished fourth with 51.33 points. The University of Florida won the meet with 99 points, Florida State was second with 74 points, and South Carolina edged Clemson for third place with 58 points. Georgia’s 49-point performance was good for fifth-place out of the 56 teams that scored in this weekend’s meet.
Currie will compete in the 100m and 200m in Sacramento, after becoming the Tigers’ second NCAA East Region Champion with his victory in the 100m. The sophomore All-American and dual sport athlete broke the tape in the 100m in a lifetime-best performance of 10.29. In the 200m, Currie recorded another personal-best effort, claiming third with a time of 20.65. He also competed as a member of Clemson’s 4x100m relay team that narrowly missed an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. Tye Hill, Jacey Harper and Currie posted a time of 39.73 to place fourth, missing third-place and the automatic bid by only three-hundredths of one second.
Freshman Itay Magidi became the Tigers’ third NCAA East Region Champion after claiming the 3,000m steeplechase in the final individual track event of the meet. Magidi won the race with a lifetime-best performance of 8:40.80, a time that moves him into third on Clemson’s all-time list in the steeplechase. He has the opportunity to become Clemson’s first All-American in the 3000m steeplechase since Julius Ogaro and Hans Koeleman earned the accolade in 1981.
Earlier in the day, senior Ryan Lewis placed fourth in the pole vault, clearing 16’7.25″ on his second attempt at that height. This will be Lewis’ first trip to the NCAA Championships, and he is the first Clemson men’s pole vaulter to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Lewis ranks third on Clemson’s all-time list in the pole vault.
The Tigers’ 4x400m relay team of Michael Bolling, Warren Eure, Roy Cheney finished fourth in the final event of the meet with a season-best time of 3:08.25.
On Friday, George Kitchens won the long jump to earn Clemson’s first East Region Championship, and will compete in that event at the NCAA Championships. Rick Hill qualified for the NCAA Championships in the decathlon with 7,327 points at the Orange & Purple Classic, and will advance to the national meet as a provisional qualifier.
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