Ray lands national qualifying time
By Catherine George, Assistant Sports Editor
The UNCP track and field team participated in their last meet before the Peach Belt Conference Championships on April 11.
The Black and Gold took home seven second place finishes at the Aggie Invitational.
To highlight the weekend on the men’s side, senior Shaquille Ray qualified for nationals in the 100m dash.
Ray landed in second place in the 100m prelims and fourth overall to gain a NCAA Division II Automatic Qualifier with times of 10.30 seconds and 10.57 seconds.
Ray also hit the provisional qualifying mark in the 200m dash with a time of 21.24 seconds for a third place finish, while Brett Godwin placed ninth (21.79 seconds).
Michael Powell took home second place in 400m hurdles (54.23 seconds), followed by Onaje Humbert with a seventh place finish and personal best time of 57.14 seconds.
The 4x100m relay team made of Powell, Ray, Brandon Bulla, and Godwin notched second place for a time of 41.89 seconds, while the 4x400m relay team of Michael Zimmerman, Godwin, Chris DuChateau and Elijah Boyce crossed the line at 3:29.95 for a seventh place finish.
Freshman and Florida native A.J Sayers-O’Neil led the Braves in the 3000m steeplechase with a third place finish and time of 10:24.25.
Teammates Nate Nash (10:45.93) and Nathan Pollard (11:01.16) participated in the event for the first time in their careers for seventh and ninth place finishes.
Joel Johnston notched a personal best time in the 1500m run for a fourth place finish (4:04.55).
Godwin contested in the 400m dash to place 10th with a time of 49.43.
Kory Jones and Bulla led the Black and Gold in the field events.
Jones placed fourth in the high jump with a leap of 1.95m, while also placing sixth in the long jump (6.58m) and ninth in the triple jump (13.28m).
Bulla (6.65m), Terron Eldridge (6.62m), and Jamel Jefcoat (6.50m) placed fourth, fifth, and ninth in the long jump respectively.
Multiple athletes participated in the triple jump for the Black and Gold with Eldridge taking fourth (13.72m), Zeke Hoggs taking sixth (13.65m), and Jefcoat placed directly behind Hoggs(13.65).
Freshman Alan Cruz led in the throwing events for the Braves with a fifth place finish in the javelin throw (43.57m), while Dillan Perry contested in the shot put (8th, 13.17m).
On the women’s side of competition the Lady Braves took home six top five finishes.
The women’s 4x100m relay team of Briana Taylor, Jani Perez, Jeanna Cube, and Fatima Funderburk took home runner up with a time of 47.80 seconds coming up only one-tenth of a second short of the school record.
Funderburk placed seventh in the 100m dash prelims (12.06 seconds) to make it to the finals and place eighth overall (12.06), while also placing 10th in the 200m dash for a personal best time of 25.13 seconds.
Kyndal Boykin ran the 1500m run in 5:10.24 to place seventh.
Boykin followed Lauren Weeks in the 800m run with a 10th place finish (2:29.18), while Weeks placed eighth with a personal best time of 2:28.34.
In the women’s 400m hurdles Kebori Gorham placed seventh crossing the line at 1:10.29, while Alexus Grey (9th, 1:11.99).
The 4x400m relay team made of Boykin, Williams, Lakezia Skyes, and Kaitlyn Thomas placed eighth with a time of 4:13.93, while teammate Brianna Taylor placed eighth (59.12 seconds) in the 400m dash for a personal record.
There were five top ten finishers in the field events for the Lady Braves.
Senior Hana Metzinger took home a second place finish in the javelin throw (37.08m), sixth in the hammer throw (41.51m), and eighth place in the discus throw (36.50m).
Jaynell Brown competed in the shot put earning second place (13.40m), 10th in the discus throw (34.10m) and 10th in the hammer throw with a distance of 39.47m for a personal best throw.
Freshman Jeanna Cube took third place in the javelin throw (31.34m) and third in the high jump (1.55m).
Jeonna Taylor led in the triple jump for runner up (11.51m), while Erica Williams followed in ninth place (10.10m).
Taylor also led the Lady Braves in the long jump with a seventh place finish (5.07m), while Williams’s followed again in 10th place with a personal record of 4.87m.
Onya Daye finished out competition for the Black and Gold with her eighth place finish in the hammer throw (40.24m).
Photo courtesy of UNCP Sports Information. Senior Shaquille Ray makes his way down the runway in a meet earlier in the season.