CCU’s Melissa Jefferson punches ticket two times for NCAA Nationals
Jefferson becomes the first-ever 100-meter and third 200-meter qualifier in school history
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - On the final day at the 2021 NCAA Track and Field East Preliminaries at Hodges Stadium, sophomore Melissa Jefferson punched her ticket to the 2021 Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., with berths in the 100 and 200 meters.
Jefferson did yeoman’s work at Hodge’s Stadium on Saturday as she competed in three of the overall five Chanticleer races.
In the 100 meters, the Georgetown, S.C., native qualified for Eugene, Ore., with a time of 11.22 (1.4), becoming the first-ever CCU sprinter to earn a spot at NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the respective event.
Jefferson capped off her day in exciting fashion as she overcame two runners in the Maia McCoy of Tennessee and Jayla Kirkland of Florida State to finish third in heat three of the 200 meters, but more importantly, punched her second ticket to Eugene with a school-record time of 22.95 (0.5).
Freshman Jermaisha Arnold also made history in the 400 meters for the second time in two outings. Just two days ago, the Myrtle Beach, S.C., native, ran 52.55 to earn a spot in the quarterfinals, but she would break her own record by 14-tenths of a second on Saturday.
In heat one of the 400-meter quarterfinals, Arnold would run 52.39, which put her in contention for nationals, but in the second heat, Olivia Bechtel of Miami (OH) finished in sixth place as she ran 51.93, placing six heat-two, ultimately eliminating Arnold from Eugene.
In the 4x100 meters, Jefferson and Arnold and freshmen Kayla Sweeney and Keniah Wallace were unable to secure a bid to nationals as they ran 44.74, marking a season-best time and the second-best time in school history.
Arnold, along with Amaryah White, Tariney Pepper, and Lauren Gordon, finished off their seasons with the 4x400 meters, unable to qualify for nationals, but still, put together a top 10 time in school history at 3:40.01.
Jefferson will join men’s long jumper David Ejumeta to prepare for NCAA competition over the next nine days. Ejumeta will begin the long jump finals at Hayward Field on June 9 at 9:30 p.m. ET, while Jefferson will set her sites for June 10 with the 100 meters (7:46 p.m. ET) and 200 meters (8:44 p.m. ET) semifinals.
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