Madi Talbert became the first Lady Bison track and field student athlete to qualify for the NCAA nationals May 24, in the NCAA preliminary round in Greensboro, N.C.
Talbert, a freshman from Charlotte, N.C., crushed the school record in the 3000-meter steeplechase. She crossed the finish line fourth in her heat and 12th overall in 10:11.21. The top-three in each heat and the next three fastest advanced to the finals held in Eugene, Ore., June 5-8.
“Wow! Madi ran a perfect race,” said Bill Taylor, director of cross country and track and field. “We had a plan we talked about last week. She went out and did exactly what she needed to do.”
Talbert, running in the second heat, held onto the final transfer spot through the third heat where Esther Vermeer of Duke finished in 10:11.94.
“Qualifying for the National Championship Finals is a huge bonus,” Taylor said. “I am so proud of Madi.
“She has just helped move the program to a whole new level. She opened the door to the whole team. The national finals aren’t some big thing. It is completely doable and she showed the way.”
Two other track and field standouts had a good finishes to their seasons.
Tucker Peabody, a junior from Memphis, Tenn., finished third in his heat and eighth overall in 20.84 seconds at the May 24 competition. Peabody entered the meet with the 11th fastest time in the East Region. Competing in the 200-meter dash, Peabody finished fifth in his heat and 14th overall. He crossed the finish line in 20.91 seconds.
Freshman Gemikal Prude had his turn at the preliminary meet in the high jump. The Melbourne, Fla., entered the meet ranked No. 20 in the region with a leap of 2.15 meters. He finished in eighth place in his flight and 15th overall in the high jump. He had a top jump of 2.10 meters but was unable to convert at 2.14 meters.
“Everything is a learning experience,” said Taylor. “Both Gemikal and Tucker performed well. It just wasn’t enough. They have a lot they can learn from this year to motivate and give focus for next year. They’ve both had an outstanding season and should be very proud of what they accomplished. We are certainly proud of them.”
Both Peabody and Prude reset the record books on several occasions this year.
Peabody set the school record in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. Peabody’s top time in the 100 was in 10.36 seconds. In the 200, his specialty, he finished in 20.68 seconds to claim the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship.
Prude broke a school record that dated back to the 1970’s when he had a jump of 2.15 meters.