2011 Women's NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Regional Preview

Providence, R.I. - BIG EAST track & field athletes travel to the 2011 NCAA Women's Outdoor Track & Field Regional meets on May 26-28. The East Regional will be held in Bloomington, Ind., and will feature 13 BIG EAST squads. The West Regional takes place in Eugene, Ore., where two of the teams will be competing. Below is a look at some of the top BIG EAST competitors this year. Sprints/Hurdles Connecticut senior Trisha-Ann Hawthorne highlights the sprints group. The four-time BIG EAST Champion in both the 100 and 200-meter dash events will compete in both events in Bloomington. Hawthorne is seeded 12th in the 100 and ninth in the 200, leading a pack of 11 Connecticut athletes who will be competing in 12 different events. Also competing in the 100-meter dash is Syracuse junior Flings Owusu-Agyapong, who won the ECAC title this year. Agyapong is seeded 31st, just behind Cincinnati senior Natasha Burse. Hawthorne leads three BIG EAST athletes in the 200-meter dash. Pittsburgh junior Cambrya Jones and Cincinnati's Burse also will compete in the event. After breaking a West Virginia school record and winning the title in the 400-meter dash at the BIG EAST Championships, senior April Rotilio looks to top that performance at NCAAs. She qualified No. 7 in the event. West Virginia junior Chelsea Carrier, a two-time BIG EAST Champion in the 100-meter hurdles, is a favorite to qualify for the NCAA finals in the event. Carrier is seeded eighth with a qualifying time of 12.97. Villanova junior Shericka Ward, the runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles at the BIG EAST Championship this year, is seeded 13th. The 400-meter hurdles field is highlighted by Georgetown junior London Finley. Finley is seeded 16th in the event with a qualifying time of 58.46. The junior finished second behind carrier in the event at the 2011 BIG EAST Championship. Middle Distance The BIG EAST looks strong in the two middle distance events. In the 800-meter run, Georgetown freshman Chelsea Cox leads six BIG EAST athletes in the top 33 of the region. Cox is ranked seventh with a qualifying time of 2:05.17. Connecticut has a pair of middle-distance specialists in the top 20, including sophomore Brigitte Mania (15th) and junior Heather Wilson (19th). The conference is stacked in the 1,500-meter run with six athletes in the top 15. Villanova junior Sheila Reid, the 2011 BIG EAST 1,500-meter champion, is the top seed in the region with a qualifying time of 4:11.85. Georgetown senior Renee Tomlin is just behind Reid in second, with a time of 4:13.15. The Hoyas have two more athletes in the top 15, including freshman Madeline Chambers (9th) and sophomore Rachel Schneider (11th). Distance/Steeple The 3,000-meter steeplechase has a pack of four athletes in the top 11. Syracuse junior Katie Hursey is the highest seed form the conference, ranking seventh with a time of 10:13.39. Connecticut junior Meghan Cunningham, the 2011 BIG EAST champion in the event, is seeded eighth with a time of 10:14.07. The Orange also feature juniors Natalie Busby and Heather Stephens in the event. Villanova sophomore Bogdana Mimic enters Bloomington as the No. 1 seed in the 5,000-meter run. Mimic leads three Villanova runners in the event. Junior Alison Smith ranks fourth in the event while Reid ranks 12th. Syracuse senior Catherine DeSarle is the top-ranked BIG EAST athlete in the 10,000-meter run, entering as the sixth seed with a qualifying time of 33:38.94. She is one slot ahead of West Virginia junior Kate Harrison, the 2011 BIG EAST Champion in the event. Relays Pittsburgh and Cincinnati will be the lone BIG EAST squads in the 4x100-meter relay. The Panthers are seeded 15th with a qualifying time of 44.93 after winning the BIG EAST title in the event this year. The Bearcats come in ranked 19th with a time of 45.06. Villanova is the 10th seed in the 4x400-meter relay. The Wildcats qualified with a time of 3:37.30. Cincinnati won the BIG EAST title in the event this season and are seeded 14th with a time of 3:38.43. Georgetown also will compete in the relay as the 15th seed. Jumps Connecticut freshman Ilva Bikanova is the top seed from the BIG EAST in the high jump, coming in ranked seventh in the region with a mark of 1.81 meters. Louisville sends two athletes to Bloomington, including 2011 BIG EAST champion Rachel Gehret who is seeded eighth. West Virginia senior Katelyn is seeded 13th in the event with a mark of 1.79 meters. The 2011 BIG EAST pole vault champion, USF senior Denise vonEynatten, is seeded fifth in the event after her BIG EAST Championship record-breaking performance of 4.30 meters. Senior teammate Stephanie Duffy is seeded 12th in the event, while Cincinnati also sends a pair of athletes to Bloomington including sophomore MacKenzie Fields and junior Michelle Eby. West Virginia's Carrier is the top-ranked BIG EAST athlete in the long jump after winning the event at the BIG EAST Championship. Carrier is seeded fifth with a mark of 6.42 meters. Another BIG EAST champion, Syracuse junior Ieva Staponkute, is the top BIG EAST athlete in the triple jump. She enters as the 12th seed with a mark of 12.85 meters. Throws Louisville used the throwing events to take home its fourth-straight team title at the 2011 BIG EAST Championship. The Cardinals have three athletes in the top 10 of the shot put, including BIG EAST champion D'Ana McCarty, who is seeded sixth. McCarty also won the BIG EAST title in the discus throw and hammer throw. The senior will be seeded 12th in the discus and sixth in the hammer at the regional meet. Joining McCarty in the top 10 of the shot put are teammates Chinwe Okoro and Khadija Abdullah, who are seeded fifth and ninth respectively. Okoro also is seeded seventh in the discus with a mark of 54.24 meters. At the NCAA West Regional, DePaul sends a pair of the top javelin throwers in the country. Junior Alanna Kovacs is ranked second in the region with a mark of 56.82 meters this year. Junior teammate Melissa Fraser, the 2011 BIG EAST champion in the event, is seeded eighth with a mark of 51.95 meters. Heptathlon West Virginia's Carrier is also one of the top contenders in the heptathlon after holding the No. 1 spot in the country for most of the season. Carrier is the No. 2 seed with a season-best score of 5,927 points. Syracuse junior Kelsey Rubeor, the 2011 BIG EAST heptathlon champion, is ranked fifth entering the regional. Notre Dame junior Maddie Buttinger also will compete as the 14th seed.