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(Gulf Shores, Ala.) The Dillard University Lady Bleu Devils 4x100 and 4x400 meter relay squads participated in the 2015 NAIA Track and Field Outdoor National Championships at the Mickey Miller Blackwell Stadium in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Sophomores Kaitlyn Fortuna (SO/New Orleans, LA) and India Ware (SO/Missouri City, TX) along with freshmen Megan Reed (FR/Thibodaux, LA) and Sasha Newman (FR/Antioch, CA) rounded out the Lady Bleu Devils 4x1 team that came into the championships ranked 11th in the NAIA. At the national competition, the ladies placed 10th overall posting a time of 47.29 (PR). The ladies missed the finals by two slots as the top eight advanced to the final which is on Saturday. Their Gulf Coast Athletic Conference inner city rivals Xavier-Louisiana placed ninth with a time of 47.10 and Southern University New Orleans finished third with a time of 46.28, advancing to Saturday's final.
The Lady Bleu Devils 4x4 team made history by making it to the NAIA championships for the first time under the direction of head coach Bobby Williams.
The 4x4 team included Fortuna and teammates Reed, Ware and junior Dominique Hardin (JR/Apple Valley, CA). The team entered the championships ranked 13th in the nation. The squad prepared to run the preliminary round on Thursday but Mother Nature had different plans; thunderstorms, specifically thunder and lightning, caused a major delay in action and as a result NAIA officials decided to push the race back until Friday. When the race finally ensued, Dillard finished 19th overall with a time of 3:55.22.
Long jumper Joycelyn Daggs (SO/Thibodaux, LA) participated in her first ever NAIA Track and Field National Championships for the first time in her collegiate career as she placed 22nd with a distance of 5.36 meters.
Fortuna was fortunate enough to also participate in the women's 100m and 200m dash, posting times of 12.48 (24th) and 24.71 (13th) (PR) respectively. None of Dillard's participants advanced to Saturday's championships.
For a complete listing of 2015 NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championship results, please visit http://cfpitiming.com/liveresults/2015_Outdoor/NAIA_Champs_2015/.
*Photos provided by M. Trummel/Y. Tsega