Five members of the Ohio State women’s track and field team qualified for the NCAA championships last weekend at the NCAA East Regional preliminaries in Bloomington, Ind.
After winning the Big Ten indoor and outdoor championships for the first time in program history, the Buckeyes entered preliminaries knowing the veterans would have to perform at their best.
“Anytime you’re in a field that strong, nothing is taken for granted,” coach Karen Dennis said.
Senior sprinter and hurdler Letecia Wright had a successful weekend, taking first place in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 12.97 seconds. Junior Christina Manning also qualified for nationals with a fifth-place finish.
“Making it to nationals once again feels like a redeeming meet,” Manning said. “I have a statement to make on the track and I plan on making it early.”
Manning and Wright combined with junior Madison McNary and freshman Chesna Sykes to help the 4-by-100-meter relay team reach the NCAA finals.
Wright is no stranger to succeeding on a big stage.
“It feels really good to make it to outdoor nationals for the fourth year in a row,” she said. “It was a big surprise to me to win East Regionals because there are a lot of great hurdlers, so my goal was to just make it to nationals.”
Wright’s strong performance comes as no surprise to Dennis.
“I think it sets her up for just being able to be confident and prepared for the National Championships next week,” Dennis said. “She ran exceptionally well. … She recognizes this is her last year, and I think she wants to end the year on a real positive note.”
Junior high jumper Ashley Galbraith qualified with a jump of 1.78 meters. Galbraith usually competes in multi-events for the track and field team, but participated only in the high jump at the preliminary meet. Dennis said this helped Galbraith perform at a higher level.
“Regionals afforded her an opportunity to compete in the high jump with fresh legs, and she had a real awesome day,” Dennis said. “I’m really glad we were able to get through the region. … We’re going to the National Championships. We have to refocus our energy and our effort, and realize that we’re getting ready to face the top in both regions.”