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Eleven Huskies Qualify for NCAA Preliminary Round

Deysha Smith-Jenkins owns UConn's second-fastest 200m time

May 22, 2014

NCAA East Regional Qualifiers | Schedule of Events

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – UConn women’s track and field had eleven student-athletes and both relay teams earn spots in the NCAA Division I Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Preliminary Championships, the selection committee announced on Thursday. Competitors ranked in the top-48 of the region (top-24 for relay teams) earned places in the preliminary championship.

Placing in the top-twelve in the preliminary rounds earns a ticket to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon next month. The Huskies will be competing in the East Region, hosted by the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida from May 29-31. The West region will be held on those same dates at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Taylor Anderson was one of several Huskies to qualify in multiple events for Connecticut. Her times of 11.64 and 23.77 in the 100m and 200m dashes, respectively, earned her admittance to both events. Joining Anderson in the 200m will be Deysha Smith-Jenkins, who ran a 23.60 at last weekend’s ECAC Championship to earn a spot in the preliminary championship. Her time marked the second-fastest time in program history behind only former UConn All-American standout Trisha-Anne Hawthorne (23.22). Smith-Jenkins will also be participating in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

Other Connecticut sprinters that will compete in multiple events are Celina Emerson (400m, 4x100 and 4x400 relays), Nyanka Joseph (400m, 4x100 and 4x400 relays) and Faith Dismuke (800m and 4x400 relay).

Four-time All-American Brigitte Mania will look to earn a trip back to the NCAA Championship after she finished 12th in the 800m in Oregon last June. She was among the top-24 to qualify for the event with the time of 2:06.70 that she used to capture the 800m title at the American Athletic Conference Championship earlier this month. Junior Faith Dismuke will also compete in the 800m at the NCAA preliminary championship for the first time as a Husky. Her only other trip to NCAA’s came while at Villanova, when Dismuke competed in the 400m hurdles at the 2013 East Regional.

No stranger to NCAA East Regional competition is Emerson, whose UConn record-breaking 400m time of 52.80 earned her the tenth-best qualifying time headed to Jacksonville. Emerson will look to repeat that sub-53 second performance for a spot back in the NCAA Championships, where she has earned three All-American honors as part of the Distance Medley Relay but seeks her first individual accolade. Joining Emerson in the 400m will be junior Joseph. Her time of 53.58 from The American Championship will provide Joseph with her first competition in NCAA’s.

Representing UConn in distance events will be sophomore standout Emily Durgin. Her 10,000m time of 34:22.20 will carry her to NCAA competition for the first time in her outdoor track and field career.

Saija Bikanova earned the right to compete in the high jump with a qualifying height of 1.76m. She will look to follow in the footsteps of older sister and former UConn standout Ilva Bikanova, who was a three-time All-American in the high jump.

Odrine Belot’s silver medal finish in the triple jump at the ECAC Championships last weekend earned her a spot in Jacksonville next week. Her distance of 13.11m fell just .01m short of catching the leader but represented the second best distance by a UConn triple jumper in school history. The achievement marks her first time qualifying for NCAA East Regionals.

UConn’s 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams both qualified for Regionals, which marks the first time in program history both squads have attended in the same year. The 4x400m quartet of Celina Emerson, Faith Dismuke, Deysha Smith-Jenkins and Nyanka Joseph posted a school-record time of 3:32.83 at The American Championship earlier this month. Their time is the fifth-best qualifying time headed to Jacksonville. The same foursome combined to qualify in the 4x100m with a time of 45.23 last weekend en route to winning the event at the ECAC Championships. Chantal Scott and Tiffany Daley also qualified to compete in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, respectively.

"This is the best group of athletes the Huskies has ever sand to the NCAA Preliminary, which is the first and second round of the NCAA Championship," UConn track coach Clive Terrelonge said. "All our athletes have a realistic chance of moving on the the NCAA Semi and Final in Oregon next month. I am so excited for the opportunity our athletes will get next week in Jacksonville as they will be competing for a spot in Eugene. This year they all have had the best season of their careers so far and is looking to keep that going.  Also to have both sprint relays making program history this year is something special.The staff is very proud of this team this  year, they've shown great strength and courage throughout the season".

A complete list of declared athletes has been posted above. Start lists and results will be released as the event draws nearer and can be found by clicking HERE. Continue to check back to and, where information will be posted as it becomes available.