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NCAA East Regional Championship Blog: Day 1

May 29, 2009  Greensboro, N.C.  RSS
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Freshman Ryan Bell is one of Liberty's two entrants in the first event of the 2009 NCAA Division I East Regional Track & Field Championships, the men's javelin.

Freshman Ryan Bell is one of Liberty's two entrants in the first event of the 2009 NCAA Division I East Regional Track & Field Championships, the men's javelin.

From the press box high atop North Carolina A&T's Irwin Belk Track, will provide live updates throughout the two days of the 2009 NCAA Division I East Regional Track & Field Championships. Please see below for other ways to follow all of the action.

Meet schedule

Live results

Men's heat/flight sheets

Women's heat/flight sheets

Greensboro weather

The most recent posts will be located just below this italicized message. You may need to refresh the page periodically to view the latest updates. Feel free to email with any comments, questions or suggestions. Thanks!

8:50 p.m. - We are experiencing major network issues at Irwin Belk Track, but I'll try to get this final update through before leaving for tonight. Tim O'Donnell just ran the 400 hurdles in 52.03 seconds, placing third in his heat. He will not qualify for tomorrow's event final, but he has clocked the 12th-fastest times. That will make O'Donnell eligible for at-large selection to the national meet. It would be a long shot, however.

That's it for tonight. Thanks for your interest in Liberty Track & Field. We will be back tomorrow afternoon for the men's discus and men's triple jump. Both events begin at 5 p.m. Have a nice evening and Go Flames!

7:15 p.m. - The men's high jump is now complete, and Matt Parker finished fourth with his successful clearance at 6-11.75. With his top five finish, Parker will advance to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., scheduled to begin June 10.

Georgia Tech's Jerome Miller won with a 7-3.25 clearance, breaking the facility and regional records in the process. Here are the high jump results.

Men's High Jump (NCAA Automatic Qualifiers)
1) Jerome Miller, Georgia Tech - 7-3.25
2) Garrett Huyler, Cornell - 7-2.25
3) Jacques Watson, Coastal Carolina - 7-1
4) Matt Parker, Liberty - 6-11.75
5) Andrew Bachelor, Florida State - 6-11.75

I'll be back with my final update of the evening around 8:45, after Tim O'Donnell runs the men's 400-meter hurdles prelims.

6:45 p.m. - The skies are darkening a bit, but the results are very positive for the Flames at the high jump pit.

First off, though, Andrea Beckles' official time for the 100-meter dash was indeed 11.82, putting her in a three-way tie for 18th place out of 36 entrants. She tied with Coastal Carolina's Ikeiylah Brown for the fastest clocking among the Big South's four participants in the event.

Now back to the aforementioned high jump. The 6-11.75 height whittled the field from 16 all the way down to our five NCAA national meet qualifiers. Parker is one of the qualifiers, after getting over 6-11.75 on his first try. The other five successful jumpers at this height were Coastal Carolina's Jacques Watson, Florida State's Andrew Bachelor, Cornell's Garrett Huyler and Georgia Tech's Jerome Miller.

Again, Parker appears to have punched his ticket for Fayetteville and is now jumping for place and team points! I'll be back with an update after the event concludes and we receive official results.

6:15 p.m. - Competition continues on at the high jump pit, at the north end of the infield. 16 jumpers will move on to 6-11.75, including Matt Parker. He was successful on his second try at 6-10.25. This height should start separating the men from the boys.

Andrea Beckles finishes fifth in her heat of the women's 100-meter dash in 11.82 seconds, aided by a 0.8 m/s tailwind. She will not make the final, and her very fine collegiate career comes to a close. Her heat's winner, Murielle Ahoure of Miami, set the regional record with an 11.14 clocking.

As I type this, they have started jumping at 6-11.75 and Coastal Carolina's Jacques Watson is the only person to clear the bar so far.

5:35 p.m. - We are through high jumping at the opening height of 6-8.75, and Liberty's group of competitors has been cut in half. Big South champion Anthony Bryant looked good on his second attempt, but brushed the bar off the standards. He was unsuccessful at the opening height and will now get ready for tomorrow's triple jump competition.

Meanwhile, IC4A high jump champion Matt Parker looked very comfortable at the opening height, sailing over the bar on his first try. By my count, he was one of 12 jumpers to get over 6-8.75 without a miss. We will move up to 6-10.25 now.

We're 25 minutes away from the women's 100-meter dash prelims, including the Lady Flames' Andrea Beckles. The race will be contested on the backstretch, to take advantage of the south breeze.

It is clouding up a bit here in Greensboro, but no precipitation yet. I'll be back with an update after Beckles runs.

2:55 p.m. - I'll give you a mid-afternoon update, just in case anyone can't wait for the men's high jump updates to start in a couple more hours.

The men's javelin competition has wrapped up and Georgia's Chris Hill triumphed, as expected. The defending national champion topped out at 263-7, shattering the facility and regional records.

Ryan Bell ended up sharing 14th place with James Pachucki of Lehigh, at 199-4. If Bell had thrown just 10 inches longer, he would have made the top 12 and been eligible for at-large selection to the NCAA national meet.

Elliot Galeone placed 22nd out of 30 entrants, at 189-5. Meanwhile, the third Big South Conference athlete in the competition, Jared Baird of Winthrop, finished 19th with a 192-4 effort.

Speaking of the Big South, the best effort by a conference performer so far today was provided by Radford freshman Aimee Veatch in the women's hammer. She recorded a 181-6 mark for sixth place, ending up only nine inches shy of automatic qualification for the national meet.

In another Big South sporting event taking place this afternoon, Coastal Carolina leads Kansas, 4-0, in the top of the third inning. The two teams are meeting in the opening round of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship in Chapel Hill, N.C.

It's still pretty quiet here in Greensboro. The third and final flight of the women's long jump is about to begin, on the runway directly in front of the press box. Two other field events--the men's shot put and the women's pole vault--will begin at 3 p.m. We are about an hour away from the day's initial running event, the women's 4 x 100 relay prelims.

For a bit of reading material while we await the start of the men's high jump, click here for's preview of Saturday evening's Reebok Grand Prix meet, where Sam Chelanga will run the 5K. The popular website expects Chelanga to run 13:15 or faster and perhaps even challenge the long-standing NCAA record of 13:08.4.

12:50 p.m. - Numerous throwers have already surpassed the 200-foot mark in the third flight, thus ending Ryan Bell's chances at qualifying for the men's javelin finals. Georgia's Chris Hill did not disappoint on his first attempt, stretching the tape all the way to 256-10.

So, the season is complete for Elliot Galeone and Ryan Bell. However, the future looks bright for Liberty in the men's javelin, as Galeone is a redshirt sophomore and Bell a true freshman.

Liberty's next event is not scheduled until 5 p.m., when Anthony Bryant and Matt Parker begin the men's high jump. I'll be back later, to provide in-progress updates of that event.

Before I sign off for a few hours, I'll let you know that Hill threw the javelin even longer on his second attempt, reaching 259-0.

12:25 p.m. - Like Elliot Galeone, Ryan Bell's first throw was his longest. The freshman placed fifth out of 10 athletes in the second flight of the men's javelin, with a toss of 199-3. He is now tied with Lehigh's James Pachucki for seventh place in the overall standings, with one flight remaining. Galeone has been eliminated from any chance at qualifying for the finals.

Lafayette's Seamas McGuire paced the throwers in the second flight with a 206-5 heave, but Florida State's Bryan Howard retains the overall lead at 211-6. The fireworks should really begin in the third flight, though, as defending national champion Chris Hill of Georgia headlines the list of competitors.

Here's a look at the top nine men's javelin throwers, through the first two flights. I must note that these are unofficial, as I'm depending upon the accuracy of the performance board (and one of the digits of the performance board was temporarily replaced by the operator's fingers during the second flight).

Men's Javelin Standings (Through Two Flights)
1) Bryan Howard, Florida State – 211-6
2) Seamas McGuire, Lafayette – 206-5
3) Brandon Burkhardt, Rutgers – 205-3
4) Casey Garbaty, Buffalo – 203-8
5) Jacob Keeling, Rhode Island – 202-0
6) Douglas Nelson, Florida – 200-0
7T) Ryan Bell, Liberty – 199-3
7T) James Pachucki, Lehigh – 199-3
9) Michael Simon, New Hampshire – 198-10

I'll be back in a bit to let you know if Ryan Bell qualifies for finals or not. For the time being, though, I'll dig into the most recent arrival to the press box, box lunches from Jason's Deli!

11:35 a.m. - We are up and running (or throwing, to be more precise) at the 2009 NCAA Division I East Regional Track & Field Championships!

Elliot Galeone's first javelin throw was the longest of his three attempts, piercing the ground at 190-1. He is in sixth place through the first flight. Florida State's Bryan Howard is the early leader, as he reached 211-6 on his best effort. Here's how the standings look so far, with Ryan Bell currently warming up for the second flight.

Men's Javelin Standings (Through Flight 1)
1) Bryan Howard, Florida State - 211-6
2) Jacob Keeling, Rhode Island - 202-0
3) James Pachucki, Lehigh - 199-3
4) Chris Bradley, Rutgers - 193-9
5) Tim Wunderlich, Dartmouth - 192-0
6) Elliot Galeone, Liberty - 190-1
7) Andrew Fahringer, Virginia - 185-8
8) Matthew Megerdichian, St. Francis (N.Y.) - 174-6
9) Ted Heitzman, Bucknell - 171-7
10) Joe Gingerelli, Penn State - 166-1

I'll be back around 12:15 with a recap of the second flight. Ryan Bell, Liberty's school record holder in this event, will be the final thrower in this flight. Again, the top nine throwers from the three flights combined will advance to the finals.

The sun is now out in full force, and it's turning into a warm day here in Greensboro. I'm thankful for the air conditioning in the press box!

10:25 a.m. – Welcome to the Greensboro, North Carolina, the Gate City and the home of the 2009 NCAA Division I East Regional Track & Field Championships. The best track & field performers from 112 universities along the East Coast are gathered here at North Carolina A&T's Irwin Belk Track to help determine the field for the 2009 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

North Carolina A&T is hosting the regional meet for the second time in the last four years, at its impressive on-campus facility. With 24,000 seats in its horseshoe-shaped seating area and a blue track, Irwin Belk Track is somewhat reminiscent of Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa, which hosted last year's NCAA national meet.

Five is the magic number this weekend. Every event's top five finishers will automatically qualify for the NCAA national meet, scheduled for June 10-13 in Fayetteville, Ark. Meanwhile, the sixth through 12th-place athletes will become eligible for at-large selection to the national championship.

Eight Flames and Lady Flames will compete at this weekend's regional meet, and all eight are seeking their first-ever NCAA national meet appearance. Six of them will be in action during the next 10 hours, beginning with the men's javelin in 35 minutes.

The men's javelin and the women's hammer will be the first two events to get started at a still-quiet Irwin Belk Track. Things will not get busy around here until running events begin at 4 p.m. this afternoon.

Liberty's duo of Ryan Bell and Elliot Galeone is slated to throw the javelin, representing the Flames' first two javelin competitors ever at the regional meet. Liberty will also have a pair of entrants (Anthony Bryant and Matt Parker) in the men's high jump, beginning at 5 p.m.

On the track, senior Andrea Beckles will run the prelims of the women's 100-meter dash at 6 p.m., while classmate Tim O'Donnell will participate in the men's 400-meter hurdles prelims at 8:20 p.m.

We experienced some heavy rain when we arrived yesterday afternoon, and more precipitation is possible today. Let's hope it holds off, so all athletes have an opportunity to compete at a high level. The sun is peeking through the clouds from time to time this morning, so that seems to be a good sign.

Due to NCAA regulations, I am only allowed a total of 10 blog posts each day. As a result, my updates will be longer and less frequent than those from the Big South and IC4A championships.

It should be a fun day in Greensboro. Let's see if Ryan Bell and Elliot Galeone can get things started off with a bang in the men's javelin. They will be throwing from left to right on your computer screen. I will be back with an update around 11:30 a.m., to let you know how Galeone performs on his first three throws. He will be the very first thrower in the first of three flights. Bell is the final thrower in the second flight.