Track and field competitors from Louisiana colleges other than LSU will have nearly 100 opportunities to earn spots in the NCAA championships when they compete in the NCAA East preliminary rounds Thursday through Saturday.
The NCAA Division I selection committee last week accepted the top 48 athletes in individual events and top 24 relay teams for the East and West competitions from the national performance list this spring.
The East preliminary rounds, which include all Louisiana schools, will be held in Jacksonville, Florida, with Austin, Texas, hosting the West.
Individuals in both regions will compete in prelims and the quarterfinal round with the top 12 survivors from each, along with the top 12 teams in two relays, advancing to the semifinals June 10-13 at the NCAA championships in Eugene, Oregon.
The Southeastern Louisiana men and Tulane women have the highest-rated women in each division heading to the preliminary rounds.
Southeastern has two athletes in the field events ranked in the top 10 of their respective events.
Freshman pole vaulter Devin King is tied for seventh in the East with a best of 17 feet, 7 inches this season, while Jonathan Kinchen is ninth in the region with a throw of 222-2 in the hammer.
On the women’s side, Tulane also has two highly ranked competitors with solid chances to advance.
Lilla McMillan has the sixth-fastest time in the 400 meters at 51.86 seconds and Daliadiz Ortiz is ninth in the javelin with a best of 164-7. McMillan also will compete in the 200 meters.
The Louisiana-Lafayette men’s team also has some athletes among the top competitors, led by sprinter Hanoj Carter.
Carter ranks 10th in the 100 meters with a time of 10.20 and is 12th in the 200 at 20.66. A transfer from Northwestern State, Carter recently became the first UL-Lafayette sprinter to win the 200 at the Sun Belt Conference championships since 1994.
UL-Lafayette’s Justin Victor also has a shot at advancing as he goes into the prelims ranked 10th behind Kinchen in the hammer with a throw of 219-8.
Other men’s entrants in the top 12 are Northwestern State’s Emmanuel Williams, who is fifth in the East in the long jump with a best of 25-6¾; and Louisiana Tech’s Jarrett Samuels, who’s 10th in the long jump at 25-2½.
Tech’s 4x100-meter relay team is inside the top 12, going into the meet 11th with a time of 39.94 seconds.
The only other top-12 competitors in the women’s division is UNO’s Alexia Fortenberry, who ranks 10th in the 100 hurdles with a time of 13.14.
Georgia pole vaulter Morgann Leleux, a New Iberia native, is tied for third with a best this season of 14-3¼.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.