Gulf Shores, Al. - The women's track and field team will be bringing seven national qualifier to compete in three different events this upcoming weekend at the 2015 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships located at Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The meet will start Thursday, May 21st and last through Saturday, May 23rd.
The women's 4x100-meter relay team of returns back to Outdoor Nationals this year. This marks back-to-back years the same women's 4x100-meter relay team will compete at Outdoor Nationals. The team consists of junior Justina Jones, sophomore Alexus Lyons, junior Kiana Froedden, and junior Beth Sexton. Sophomore Ceantra Mcbee will serve as the alternate. In 2014, the team finish 17th overall, setting a school record of 47.82. With already having experience at the National level, the team hopes to improve tremendously on last year's finish. The prelims are set at 2:30pm on Thursday afternoon, and the final is set at 2:40pm on Saturday afternoon. They are ranked 23rd with a time of 48.10 set at the Kentucky Relays.
The relay members experienced great success this outdoor season. Froedden set a new school record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.47 at the University of Georgia Invitational earlier this month. Lyons set a new school record in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.32 at the AAC Outdoor Conference Championships in April. Additionally, Lyons was lead leg on the 4x400-meter relay team that set a new school of 4:07.62 at the AAC Outdoor Conference Championships. Sexton set a new school record in the triple jump at the AAC Outdoor Conference Championships with a jump of 31' 7.25." She was also the anchor leg of the school record 4x400-meter relay team.
Freshman Hannah Rhodes will be competing in the 3,000-meter steeplechase this weekend. Rhodes is ranked 29th with a school record time of 11:27.49 set at the Tennessee Relays. Her prelim race is scheduled to start at 6:50pm on Thursday evening, and the final set at 2:00pm on Saturday afternoon.
While this is Rhodes first track national meet, she is no stranger to the national level. This past cross country season, Rhodes was the individual AAC Cross Country Conference Champion with a winning time of 18:50.28 and led the Lady Bulldogs to a national qualifying bid. During the indoor season, Rhodes was the lead anchor on the distance medley relay team that set a new school, and in addition to her school record time in the steeplechase, Rhodes also helped set a new school record this outdoor season in the 4x800-relay race.
The final two competitors for the Lady Bulldogs are junior Robbiccaa Williams and sophomore Leah Chance. Both Williams and Chance will be competing in the marathon this weekend. The marathon is set to go off Saturday morning at 6:00am. In late November, both hit the NAIA A Standard in the Secret City Half Marathon to qualify them for the marathon. Williams' finishing time in the half marathon was 1:27:19, and Chance's finishing time was 1:28:39.
Williams and Chance were the only two female competitors at Indoor Nationals last season. Williams competed in the 3,000-meter race, and Chance competed in the 5,000-meter race. Both have helped led and shaped the women's distance program to what it is today. Both helped lead the way to a 25th place showing for the women's cross country team at nationals. This indoor season, Williams set new schools records in the mile and 3,000-meter races as well as serve as lead anchor on the school record distance medley relay team. Chance, meanwhile, set a new school record in the 5,000-meter this past indoor season. This outdoor season, Williams owns school records in the 800-meter, 1,500-meter, and the 5,000-meter races. Additionally, she helped set new school records in the 4x800-meter relay the 4x400-meter relay races. Chance set the school record in the 10,000-meter race this outdoor season.
To get updates on how the women's performances at Outdoor Nationals, be sure to follow their Facebook team page, entitled Tennessee Wesleyan Cross Country/Track and Field and follow them on Twitter, @bulldogsxctf.