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- 2015 NCAA East Regional First Round Results
JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Shameal Samuels (Hartford, Connecticut) made history on Thursday evening for the Quinnipiac women's outdoor track and field team as she competed against some of the world's fastest athletes, taking the track in the 400m at the NCAA East Regionals in Jacksonville, Florida. Samuels, who became just the second Bobcat to ever advance to an NCAA Regional event, placed 47th in the preliminary round of the 400m and finished outside of qualifying for the Quarterfinals. The historical run for Samuels and Quinnipiac is the last for the Bobcats in what was a record-breaking 2015 season.
"We were very excited to have Shameal compete today at the NCAAs," said Quinnipiac head coach Carolyn Martin, who saw her first student-athlete advance to the NCAA Regionals in her six-year tenure as head coach. "This was a big step for our program. Just having her here today sets the bar and the tone for next year."
Racing in lane six in the third heat of the First Round of the 400m preliminaries, Samuels busted through with a time of 54.78 seconds to place 47th in the overall standings. With 24 of the participants advancing to Friday's Quarterfinal round, Samuels finished outside of the select group and will fly back to Hamden with plenty to be proud of after a transformative season.
"I couldn't be more proud of an athlete," said Quinnipiac assistant coach and sprint specialist Steve Belanger. "She ran with some of the fastest athletes in the world today and held her own. Shameal exemplifies our program and the direction its heading and we are all excited for the future."
Samuels' incredible junior campaign comes to an end in what will be remembered as one of the greatest in the history of the Quinnipiac track and field program. Taking the track as the first sprinter to advance to an NCAA Regional in program history, Samuels' held her own against some of the most elite talent in the world.
Starting out in the third heat of the evening in the 400m, Samuels was dealing with one of the nation's best as the No. 2 overall seed Margaret Bamgbose of Notre Dame ran in lane five, right to the left of Samuels' lane six in the competition. In that third heat alone, four of the eight competitors in Samuels' grouping advanced to the Quarterfinal round including Bamgbose (4th, 52.13), Ohio State's Aaliyah Barnes (11th, 52.97), Charlotte's T'Sheila Mungo (15th, 53.13) and UConn's Nyanka Joseph (21st, 53.18).
The Bobcats' standout Samuels adds another notch to her belt as the 2014-15 season has been a breakout year 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.
A distinguished student-athlete, Samuels' 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 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 a talented crop of competitors as she medaled with a 5thplace 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.
Samuels and the Bobcats now shift their focus to what will be a much-anticipated 2015-16 season wherein Quinnipiac hopes to build off a 2014-15 season that featured many team and individual standouts. With only four members from this year's team graduating and 36 student-athletes returning for another season, Quinnipiac has much to work with in what hopes to be another record-breaking year.
Contact: Maxx McNall; firstname.lastname@example.org