May 29, 2003
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On Friday and Saturday, May 30-31, the Clemson women’s track and field team will compete at the inaugural NCAA East Region Championships on the campus of George Mason University. This is the first year of the regional qualifying system for Division I Track & Field. The nation is divided into four regions, the East, the Mideast, the Midwest and the West. The East Region, in which the Lady Tigers compete, is comprised of 112 institutions that sponsor women’s track, and is the largest of the four regions. The top five finishers in each individual event as well as the top three teams in the relay events from each region will advance to the NCAA Championships to be held June 11-14 at California State University in Sacramento. Qualifiers in the 10,000m and the heptathlon advance directly to the NCAA Championships.
Ten Lady Tigers will represent Clemson in nine events at this weekend’s East Region Championship. The qualified Lady Tigers will compete in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays as well as seven individual events.
In the running events, Shakirah Rutherford will compete in the 400m dash and 400m hurdles. Rutherford ranks 33rd in the 400m with a time of 54.55 set at the ACC Championships, and is 23rd in the intermediate hurdles with her season-best time of 59.89 posted at the Penn Relays. Silja Ulfarsdottir will also represent Clemson in the 400m hurdles, as she has a season-best time of 1:00.03 set at the ACC Championships, ranking her 25th in the East. Keshia Haughton will compete in the 100m hurdles, and ranks 30th with her season-best of 13.97 set at the Orange and Purple Classic. The Lady Tigers’ 4x100m relay team consists of Denise Cruse and Danielle Whaley and ranks 20th with a time of 45.61 recorded at the Orange and Purple Classic. The qualified 4x400m relay team is comprised of Cruse, Rutherford, Marquita Dortch will also travel with the Lady Tigers as an alternate on the relay teams.
Gisele Oliveira will compete in the long jump and triple jump. Oliveira ranks seventh in the long jump with a season-best mark of 20’11.75″, and is second in the region in the triple jump with her school-record mark of 43’11.75″ set at the Georgia Tech Invitational. Lauren Nicholson will also compete in the long jump, after recording her season-best mark of 19’4.75″ in the Orange and Purple heptathlon. Nicholson is also a national qualifier in the heptathlon.
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