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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Quinnipiac women's outdoor track and field junior standout Shameal Samuels (Hartford, Connecticut) continued on her record-breaking 2014-15 campaign, making program history as she advances to the NCAA Women's Track & Field East Regional. Samuels will compete in her signature 400m event and becomes just the second Quinnipiac track and field student-athlete to advance to a NCAA Regional event. Samuels will debut for the Bobcats in the First Round on Thursday, May 28 in Jacksonville, Florida at 7:20 PM at Hodges Stadium.
"Shameal's selection is absolutely huge for our program and our coaching staff is so excited for her success," said Quinnipiac head coach Carolyn Martin, who'll be seeing the first student-athlete compete at the NCAA Regionals in her six years as head coach. "She is the first athlete in my time as head coach to make it to the NCAAs. She earned it with her incredible work ethic, drive and determination throughout the whole season dating back to August. We're really excited to have the chance to put Quinnipiac onn the map and we can't wait to get down to Florida to train and watch her compete against the best in the country."
The Bobcats' standout Samuels adds another notch to her belt as the 2014-15 campaign has been a breakout season for the junior sprinter. Already the program's record holder in all five individual sprint events (60m, 100m, 200m, 300m, 400m), Samuels earned a spot in the NCAA East Regional with one of the Top 48 times among all student-athletes in the eastern region of the country. Not only is Samuels just the second Quinnipiac track and field athlete to advance to an NCAA Regional, Samuels is the first Bobcat to do so in a sprint event (400m or shorter).
Samuels' outdoor program record at Quinnipiac of 53.88 seconds accomplished at the Mt. SAC Relays on April 17 out in California stands as her best time from the 2015 outdoor track and field season. Samuels is seeded No. 46 out of 48 runners slotted in the 400m field as she will be going up against some of the best athletes in the country, including top seed Shakima Wimbley out of Miami (Fla.) who posted a season-best time of 50.84 seconds which stands 0.58 seconds fastest than the No. 2 seed Margaret Bamgbose (51.42 seconds out of Notre Dame).
A distinguished student-athlete, Samuels' 2014-15 junior season has been one of the most dynamic in recent memory as she starred in the indoor season and carried that success over into the outdoor campaign.
In the indoor season, Samuels became the first Bobcat in program history to capture an individual victory at the prestigious Valentine Invitational as she won the 400m on Feb. 13. At the MAAC Championships, Samuels swept all three sprint events with victories in the 100m, 200m and 400m on her way to winning the MAAC Most Outstanding Track Performer, the highest individual honor handed out by the MAAC. Her crowning moment came at the New England Championships as she broke a 27-year-old meet record with a time of 53.72 seconds to capture the New England 400m Championship for the second straight season.
In the 2015 outdoor season, Samuels shined against the most talented crop of competition she has seen to-date as she medaled with a 5th place result out of 61 competitors at the Mt. SAC Relays in California. At the MAAC Championships, Samuels legged out the victory in the 200m and followed that up with a runner-up finish in the 100m. Samuels posted her best time of the outdoor season in the New England Championships as she clocked in at 53.88 seconds, finishing runner-up to the reigning NCAA Div. II 400m Champ in Merrimack's Carly Muscaro.
Evaluating the 400m field at the NCAA East Regional, Samuels joins some standout sprinters as 16 members of the field come in with a season-high time that is less than 53 seconds, seven of which have times that are sub-52 seconds. Power programs Clemson, Cornell and Kentucky lead the field with three competitors each fielding in the NCAA East Regional 400m field while Florida, Hampton, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and UConn each have two runners listed. Samuels represents one of 21 competitors in the 400m field who hail from mid-major programs.
Samuels joins some elite company as the lone Quinnipiac track and field student-athlete to have advanced to the NCAA Regionals was former three-time All-American Katie Gwyther '06. Gwyther, as a senior in the 2005-06 season competed in the 5000m at the NCAA Regional event in Greensboro, N.C. Gwyther went on to place 15th in the 5000m at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, 11th in the 3000m at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships and 12th in the NCAA Cross Country Championships.
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