Falcons Head To Jacksonville For Regionals - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Courtesy: BGSU

Falcons Head To Jacksonville For Regionals

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– The Bowling Green State University track and field team will send five team members to compete eight times at the NCAA East Region Preliminary round Thursday through Saturday at Hodges Stadium, hosted by the University of North Florida. Since the preliminary rounds were instituted in 2010, only three Falcons (Brooke Pleger, Jessie Rowland and Ashley Harris) had qualified to compete in the field prior to this year.
The BGSU track and field team can be followed all spring through a number of ways. Follow the official team Twitter account @BGXCTrack and the official account of the Athletics Department @BGAthletics. As well, BGSU Athletics' official Instagram account is located at Instagram.com/bgfalcons. Live results will be available via links provided at BGSUFalcons.com.
Two seniors, one junior and two freshmen will compete for the Falcons during the weekend. Senior Jeanette Pettigrew will run in both the 100 and the 200, while senior Tina Perrine will compete in both the hammer throw and the discus. Junior Brooke Pleger, who placed first in the region round a year ago, will look to advance to the national championship for the second consecutive year in the hammer throw. Redshirt freshman Kori Reiser made an impact quickly and will compete in both the hammer throw and discus. True freshman Makenzie Wheat will also get her first taste of NCAA Regional competition, competing in the shot put.
NCAA Division I outdoor track and field is divided into two regions, the East and the West. In each event, 96 student-athletes (based on results from the regular season) advance to the regional round of competition (48 in each of the two regions). Once at the region preliminary round, the top 12 finishers among the 48 in competition advance to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships. Those 24 student-athletes (12 from each region) compete for the national title.
The NCAA East Region Preliminary round begins Thursday and runs through Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. For the field events, there is only one round of competition to narrow the field from 48 to 12 competitors. For both the 100 and the 200, the field will first be cut from 48 to 27. The quarterfinals will cut those 27 down to 12 to advance to the national championships. Listed below is the complete schedule of events for Falcons competing.
Thursday, May 29
12 pm – Hammer throw (Pleger, Perrine, Reiser)
6:55 pm – 100 first round (Pettigrew)
Friday, May 30
3:30 pm – Discus (Perrine, Reiser)
6:45 pm – 100 quarterfinals (Pettigrew)
8:25 pm – 200 first round (Pettigrew)
Saturday, May 31
4 pm – Shot put (Wheat)
7:50 pm – 200 quarterfinals (Pettigrew)
Princeton's Julia Ratcliffe is the top-ranked hammer thrower in the country and BGSU's Brooke Pleger is ranked second. While the two have not faced each other this year, they did square off twice a year ago with Pleger finishing ahead of Ratcliffe both times. At the NCAA National Championships, Pleger was seventh and Ratcliffe 11th. Just prior to that, Pleger won the NCAA East Region preliminary round while Ratcliffe finished fourth. While it will be a compelling competition again this weekend, it is most important for both to finish in the top 12 to advance to the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships.
Seven student-athletes from the Mid-American Conference rank among the top five in the region in their event. Brooke Pleger (hammer throw) and Akron's Annika Roloff (pole vault) are tied for the highest with a No. 2 ranking. Akron's Alexis Cooks is third in the discus, while Akron's Brittany Funk is fourth in the hammer throw and Miami's Victoria Paterra is fourth in the javelin. Eastern Michigan's Victoria Voronko (3000 steeplechase) and Central Michigan's Devene Brown (discus) are seeded fifth.
As mentioned earlier, Brooke Pleger has not faced off with top-ranked Julia Ratcliffe from Princeton this year in the hammer throw. Pleger has not seen third-seeded Denise Hinton of LSU since Hinton finished 21st at the NCAA National Championships a year ago, nor has she squared off against fifth-seeded Elizabeth Tepe of Georgia since Tepe failed to register a mark at the region preliminary round a year ago. On the other hand, Pleger is very familiar with fourth-seeded Brittany Funk of Akron. Three times this year, the rivals have been at the same meet and Pleger has come out on top each time. However, Funk placed sixth at the NCAA National Championships a year ago, one spot ahead of Pleger.
Led by assistant coach Matt Conly, Bowling Green's throws team has been its strength over the past few years. This year, BGSU will compete six times at NCAA Regionals in three throws events. With Brooke Pleger, Tina Perrine and Kori Reiser all in the hammer throw, the Falcons join Louisville as the only two programs in the east to be represented by three student-athletes at the region preliminary round. Both Perrine and Reiser will compete in discus as well, while freshman Makenzie Wheat will throw the shot put.
As the No. 2 seed for the NCAA East Region Preliminary round, Brooke Pleger has a season-best (and career-best) distance of 223-feet. In fact, the worst performance Pleger has had in a meet in the past two years has been a distance of 208-7, a mark which has only been surpassed by four competitors at this year's region round. Samford's Emily Allen enters the meet as the No. 12 seed (with 12 competitors advancing to the NCAA National Championships) with a season-best distance of 200-1. Of Pleger's 32 legal throws this year, 28 have traveled a distance further than that.
Outside of Brooke Pleger, the Falcons will likely need career-best performances for others to place in the top 12 and move on to the NCAA National Championships this year. In the hammer throw, Samford's Emily Allen enters as the No. 12 seed with a season-best throw of 200-feet-1. Pleger has thrown 223-feet this year, while Tina Perrine's season-best is 185-6 and Kori Reiser's best is 184-10. In the discus, VCU's Jaleesa Williams is 12th with a season-best mark of 175-3. Perrine has thrown as far as 164-3 and Reiser has gone 162-8. In shot put, Florida State's Chelsea Whalen is the No. 12 seed with a distance of 53-9.75. Makenzie Wheat has a career-best distance of 48-4.5. Nakia Linson has run the 100 in 11.40 seconds as the No. 12 seed and Jeanette Pettigrew has a career-best time of 11.61 seconds. In the 200, Pettigrew's career-best mark is 23.75 seconds, while 12th-seeded Tyshonda Hawkins of East Carolina has been clocked at 23.29 seconds.