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(May 22, 2015) — Euphemia Edem winning the national title in the long jump highlighted Tarleton State’s performances on day one at the NCAA Division II Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Allendale, Michigan Thursday, but she wasn’t the only athlete representing Stephenville.
Of the school-record 14 nationals qualifiers from Tarleton, six competed on Thursday.
Reigning 1,500 meter champ Chase Rathke, a junior from Crawford, didn’t need a national championship time to get to the finals in his trademark event. Rathke, who has the seventh fastest time in the nation at 3:46.08, stayed comfortably within the top four of his heat with a time of 3:51.83 to automatically qualify for Saturday’s finals.
“He executed the race plan to the letter, which was what we needed,” said Tarleton coach Pat Ponder, according to a release by Tarleton Athletic Communications representative Jeff Smith. “He’ll be ready when the gun goes off on Saturday.”
Tarleton also suffered its first heartbreaking moment of these nationals.
Deylinn Garrett, Edem, Hollie Boyd and DeAijha Hicks-Boyd were disqualified from the 4×100 meter relay after entering the event with the nation’s No. 12 time of 45.91 seconds. They were red-flagged for failing to complete a handoff within the final exchange zone.
“That’s the nature of the game in track and field. DeAijha just got excited and got out. Those things happen. She’ll compose herself and get ready for the 200 meter and the (4×400 meter) relay,” said Ponder, according to the release. “I’m proud of the (4×100 meter relay members), and they’ll regroup and learn and they’ll be hungry going into next year.”
Tarleton competes in two preliminary events Friday – Hicks-Boyce is in the women’s 200 meter and the team of Terrance Gross, Cameron Krc, Clarencio Guerrero and Gilson Umunnakwe will run in the men’s 4×400 meter relay. The men’s relay is ranked No. 1 nationally thanks to their Lone Star Conference championship time of 3 minutes, 8.53 seconds.
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