Hampton University’s Benita Taylor will compete in the women’s 800-meter run at the NCAA indoor track and field championships this week in Fayetteville, Ark.
Taylor, a senior from Philadelphia, is the only woman from an historically black college competing at the NCAA meet.
"I think she has a real good chance to do well," HU director of track and field Maurice Pierce said Wednesday from Fayetteville. "She's running on an SEC track with a fast field."
Taylor set a school record in the indoor 800 last week in winning the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships (2 minutes, 5.67 seconds) and has the 12th-fastest time among the 16 women in the NCAA field.
She ran 2:09.00 in winning the MEAC title last month in Landover, Md.
"I knew she was going to have a fast indoor season," Pierce said. "She ran by herself at the ECACs and she ran 2:09 by herself at the MEAC meet. She's getting ready to peak at just the right time."
Though Taylor hasn't been challenged in her last two races, Pierce believes that her training and experience put her in good position this weekend.
"I think mentally she's more prepared this year than last year," he said.
Taylor will run in the second of two semifinal heats Friday. The top three in each heat, plus the two fastest outside the top three, qualify for the Saturday final.
Taylor was an honorable-mention All-American in the 800 and the 4x400 relay at the 2012 NCAA outdoor meet.
More indoor track and field:
CNU freshman jumper Dominique Torres was named the South/Southeast Field Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, while CNU’s Tyler Wingard was named the region’s Head Coach of the Year on the men’s side.
Torres, who earned a spot at the NCAA Division III championships, ranks 13th nationally in the triple jump at 14.53 meters (about 47 feet, 8 inches).
CNU named Dan Weiler its head coach. He coached Concordia (Minn.) for 11 years, leading it to the NCAA tournament in six of the last seven seasons, reaching the last 16 three times, and was a four-time conference Coach of the Year.
Host Savannah State swept a MEAC doubleheader against Norfolk State.
The Tigers scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to win 8-7 in Game 1, plating the winning run on Michaela Patton's single. NSU's Heather Dunning had two hits and three RBIs in that contest.
In Game 2, SSU (12-8) scored eight runs in the fourth inning to overcome a three-run deficit and win 12-7. NSU fell to 4-8.
The Spartans' Chelsea Davis was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run in that game, and Gipsy Ramirez had two hits -- as she did in Game 1.
Patton, SSU's leadoff batter, was 5-of-6 for the day, scoring five runs and driving in five.
CNU (4-1), ranked 19th in Division III, opened its USA South schedule by breezing past Agnes Scott 22-3.
Ashton Marshall led the Captains with four goals and added two assists. Elena Obregon had three goals and three assists, while Jessica Singer had two goals and three assists.
CNU closed its spring-break trip by beating Clark (Mass.) 7-2 near Orlando, Fla. Robbie Wagner and Joey Manilla won in singles and doubles for the Captains (2-4). ...
W&M’s Ben Hoogland was named the CAA Player of the Week after going 2-1, including a triumph to clinch a 4-3 victory over Illinois State.
On the same trip as its men’s team, CNU (3-3) outlasted Berry (Ga.) 5-4 behind victories in singles and doubles from Jackie Gaine and Angela Stallman. No. 2 player Marion Gloor and No. 3 Jodi Noland also won in singles.
Women’s swimming and diving:
Eleven athletes from ACC champion Virginia qualified for the NCAA championships March 21-23 in Indianapolis.
W&M’s Landon Funiciello was named the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference’s Gymnast of the Week, while teammate Neal Courter was named the Rookie of the Week.
Funiciello won the vault (15.05) and was the rings runner-up (14.7) in a win at Army on Saturday, then won the rings (15.3) and was third in the floor exercise (13.8) the next day at Springfield.
Against Army, Courter won the high bar (13.9), was second on vault (14.85) and third on floor (14.55).