Special to the Journal
When the Albany State men’s track & field qualifiers arrive at the NCAA national meet on Thursday, they hope their speed, long strides and continuity can lead to them school history.
After placing second at this year’s SIAC team meet, the Golden Rams have qualified six athletes who will compete for national titles at the 2013 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championship. The event will be held May 23rd-25th at Neta and Eddie DeRose Thunderbowl in Pueblo, Colorado.
“We are excited about the opportunity for these young men to participate in the NCAA nationals,” said Kenneth Taylor, ASU’s head men’s track & field coach. “They are representing our university, and they have trained hard all season.”
Not only did Albany State qualify six athletes, but the program also has qualified young men who have legitimate chances to bring home national championships.
“We’re looking forward to getting to the nationals,” Taylor continued. “I am confident these young men can perform to the best of their abilities.”
Junior Isaiah Leggette will lead the Golden Rams into the nationals. Leggette, the 2013 SIAC Field Athlete of the Year, will be competing in the men’s triple jump. After winning the SIAC championship, he will be the 12th seed in the event, qualifying with a leap of 15.35 meters.
“Isaiah has come a long way this season” said Taylor. “He still has not reached his full potential. However, we’re looking for a good showing from him at the national meet.”
Taylor also feels good about the individual chances of hurdler Jordan Thompson. Thompson, the SIAC champion whose best time this year is 52.53, will compete in the men’s 400-meter hurdles as the 17th seed.
“Jordan has had a good year,” Taylor said. “He hasn’t had an ideal season, but he is starting to come around at the right time.”
The Men’s 4×100 Meter Relay team is comprised of Untayous Benson, Garrett Reynolds, Jared Jordan and Mario Barker. The team garnered a sixth seed for the national meet after qualifying at the Alice Coachman Invitational. The group’s best time is 40.24, and it also claimed the 2013 SIAC championship.
“We finally have a good combination of people together,” Taylor said. “They are clicking on all cylinders. They have good exchanges, and they will be a force to be reckoned with in that event.”
Benson and Jordan will also participate in the men’s 200-meter dash. Benson (a best of 20.97 this year) will be the 11th seed, while Jordan (21.17) is seeded in the 22nd spot.
As for the Golden Rams chances of producing a solid showing in Colorado, Taylor believes that these athletes has what it takes to contend on the national stage.
“These guys have a golden opportunity to do something special”, Taylor said. “If they stay focused and compete at a high level, we can definitely make some noise at this national meet.”