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NEW ORLEANS, La. – Dillard University is the host and Tad Gormley Stadium is the site for the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships in New Orleans, April 12. This is the second consecutive year that New Orleans will host the event, as Xavier University was the host last year.
The event kicks off at 8:45 am Saturday morning with the men's hammer throw, followed immediately by the women's. At 9:30 am, the track portions of the championships start with the 3,000 meter steeplechase. The day's final event is the 1,600 meter relays with the championship set to be completed with the awards presentations at 5:15 pm.
Seven men's and women's teams are scheduled to compete for individual and team titles in the meet's 38 events. Edward Waters College will be seeking its third consecutive men's title while Xavier University will be attempting to capture back to back women's championships and their third title in the last four years. Teams from Dillard, Edward Waters, Fisk, Philander Smith, Southern University at New Orleans, Voorhees and Xavier will be represented.
Standout performers and teams are plentiful among the competitors. From the host university, Dillard who won the men's title in 2011 and finished second each of the past two seasons there are three All-Americans, Emory Nash, Tobyus Simmons and Jevonte Ezzard. The Bleu Devils have some of the nation's most highly ranked sprint teams, qualifying nationally in the 4x400 and 4x100 meter relays. The Lady Bleu Devils also finished second last season and are leaning on a trio of seniors;Mo'Nique Waiters, Destinee Showell and Courtney Henry to get themselves to the top.
Fisk University will look to Zae German of their women's team to challenge in the shot put, where she finished sixth at last year's championships. For the men, big things are expected of sophomore sprinter Jayson Ambrose and freshman Justin Hamilton.
Voorhees College makes its first appearance at the outdoor championships looking to carve out its own place in the GCAC. The young Tigers are led by seniors Raven Moore and William Suggs. Suggs set a personal record in the shot put earlier this season with 46 feet. Freshman Zaunce Simmons is another to watch, having qualified for nationals in the high jump with a best of 6 feet 8 inches.
Perhaps one of the most complete teams is fielded by Xavier University. The women's team features four current or previous event champions including: Devinn Rolland (100m, 200m, long jump), Catherine Felker (3,000m steeple chase),Angelica Alexander (high jump) and Zahri Jackson (800m). Junior Kwame Jacksonis a two-time champion in the 5,000 meters and is the defending champion in the 1,500 meters on the men's side.
"What makes track and field so compelling is the balance between the individual performance and those of the teams", said GCAC Commissioner Steve Martin. "There is drama each time the starting gun is fired, with each jump, with each throw as we crown the very best performers and ultimately the top team in our conference. I'm excited to be a part of the competition and I know that our teams and coaches are as well."
Admission for the championships is FREE to the general public.
Contact: Chuck Knight