THURSDAY, MAY 24, 2012
Track & field wraps first day of NCAA East Preliminary Round
Juniors Joane Pierre (left) & Bienna Freeman (right)
Juniors Joane Pierre (left) & Bienna Freeman (right)
Three juniors stole the show in leading the JU track & field team Thursday at the first day of the NCAA East Preliminary Round at North Florida’s Hodges Stadium.

Junior Bienna Freeman broke the 800-meter program record for the third time this season in finishing sixth (2:06.26) to qualify for Friday’s quarterfinal. Junior Joane Pierre also made the 800-meter quarterfinal by running a 2:07.99 (24th).

Junior LaTonya Payne entered the meet as No. 43 of 48 qualifiers in the 400-meter hurdles, but posted a time of 1:00.00 (26th) to reach Friday’s quarterfinals.

“I am really proud of the racing efforts today,” JU head coach Ron Grigg said. “In the seedings, we were not expected to have anyone advance, but to have three women racing tomorrow is exciting. The hometown support we had tonight definitely was a factor helping our runners in the final meters. If we can show the same toughness tomorrow, we may have a few more athletes reach the NCAA finals.”

Freshman Courtney Walker missed the 100-meter quarterfinal after running an 11.87 (31). The time was her fourth fastest of the season. In the long jump, junior Charlene Charles finished 29th with a leap of 19’4.75”.

On Friday, freshman Shanique Walker will represent the Dolphins in the 100-meter hurdles at 5:30 p.m., while Payne will run in the 400-meter hurdles at 7:45 p.m. Freeman and Pierre compete in the 800-meter at 7:15 p.m.

Fans can follow all the action through the live links at JUDolphins.com.