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(New Orleans, La.) Dillard University sophomore track star Kaitlyn Fortuna (SO/New Orleans, LA) qualified for five events at the upcoming 2015 NAIA Track and Field Outdoor National Championships. The dates are May 21-23 and the monumental events will be held at the Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
"Our goal will be to definitely make All-American," said Dillard University men's and women's head track and field coach Bobby Williams. "Last year we learned with the guys (4x4 team) that anything is possible."
Fortuna will compete in three individual races including the 100m, 200m, and 400m runs as well as participate in the women's 4x100m and 4x400m relays. She joins freshman Megan Reed (FR/Thibodaux, LA), Sasha Newman (FR/Antioch, CA) and sophomore India Ware (SO/Missouri City, TX) on the Lady Bleu Devils 4x1 team that is ranked 11th in the NAIA.
"We gradually have been dropping times over the last few track meets, so I'm confident in our group," said Coach Williams.
The Lady Bleu Devils 4x4 squad including Fortuna and teammates Reed, Ware and junior Dominique Hardin (JR/Apple Valley, CA) is currently ranked 13th in the nation and were once ranked as high as seventh place in the NAIA earlier this season. In order to achieve NAIA All-American status, the ladies must finish in eighth place or better.
"We don't want to finish eighth, we want to finish in the top five," said Reed. "If we aim high but don't quite achieve the top spot, we will be close to the top regardless of anything."
"It feels great," said Hardin. "I just want my team to make All-American."
Reed, Hardin and sophomore long jumper Joycelyn Daggs (SO/Thibodaux, LA) will be attending NAIA Track and Field National Championships for the first time in their collegiate career.
"Well, at the beginning of the year I came to the conclusion that I was going to nationals, so when I put my mind to something, I accomplish it," said Daggs. "This isn't just with track, it is with everything else (I do)."
Daggs is currently ranked 21st in the NAIA in the women's long jump.
For a complete listing of 2015 NAIA Outdoor qualifying times, please visit http://www.tfrrs.org/lists/1438.html.
*Photos provided by A. Williams/M. Wade