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Southeast Missouri State track and field athletes prepare for regional meet
Southeast Missouri State track and field coach Eric Crumpecker regards qualifying for an NCAA regional an impressive accomplishment and a reward for a strong season.
Nine of Crumpecker's athletes made the grade and will try to take the next step Thursday through Saturday at the NCAA West Regional on the University of Texas campus in Austin.
This is the third year for an NCAA's format that has combined four previous regional sites into two sites. The top 48 in every individual event from each region qualified, and the top 12 will earn a trip to next month's national meet in Des Moines, Iowa.
"To rank in the top 48 in the region, against some of the best programs in the country, is a really nice accomplishment," Crumpecker said. "It means you're one of the best in the nation at what you do. Sending this many athletes to the meet says a lot about our program, and hopefully we can send some athletes on to nationals as well."
Southeast, which had 11 regional qualifiers last year, qualified six men and three women for this week's meet.
The group is led by three-time regional qualifier Josh Uchtman, a senior who will compete in the shot put, along with four two-time regional qualifiers.
Junior Craig Robinson (shot put) will make his second regional trip. The same goes for Southeast's three women's qualifiers: senior Shemeika Brewer (long jump, triple jump), senior Angelica Larrier (100 meters, 200 meters) and junior Jerika Lewis (200).
Other regional qualifiers are freshman Kevin Farley (shot put), freshman Reggie Miller (high jump), sophomore Blake Carter (long jump) and senior DeAndre Simmons (200).
Southeast's three shot-putters are seeded among the region's top 30.
Uchtman is seeded 22nd with a season-best throw of 58 feet, 11 1/4 inches. Farley, the Ohio Valley Conference freshman of the year, is seeded 28th (58-2), and OVC champion Robinson is 30th (57-11).
Miller, the OVC high jump champion, is seeded 32nd (6-11 1/2).
Carter is seeded 38th in the long jump (24-5), while Simmons is ranked 47th in the 200 (21.32 seconds).
Brewer is Southeast's top women's seed. The OVC triple jump champion is ranked 27th in that event (41-5 3/4) and 42nd in the long jump (19-4).
Lewis is seeded 45th in the 200 (24.04), while Larrier is 47th in both the 100 (11.68) and 200 (24.05).
"Everyone that qualified had a tremendous year, and this is a good way for them to finish the year facing national level competition," Crumpecker said. "Getting to the regional is something everybody shoots for, and it's a good reward for them."