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May 25, 2004
USI women looking for first national champion,
Men searching for third
The University of Southern Indiana track and field team will depart from Evansville this afternoon in a quest to capture NCAA gold at the Division II Outdoor Championships. The Screaming Eagles are set to depart from USI at 2 p.m. and fly out of Evansville Regional Airport at 3:53 p.m.
Sophomore Heather Cooksey (Brownsburg, Indiana) is a favorite in both the 3,000 and 5,000 meters where she is seeded first and sixth, respectively, while freshman Candace Perry (Anderson, Indiana) is a favorite in the long jump where she is seeded second.
Either one could become USIís first female national champion in any sport. Cooksey has run the 3,000 meters in nine minutes, 33.71 seconds, nearly five seconds faster than anyone else in Division II this spring.
Perryís top mark of 19 feet, 11 Ĺ inches was the nationís top jump until two weeks ago and now stands in second place.
Along with sophomore high jumper Abby Boberg (Bicknell, Indiana), the USI women will look to improve upon a ninth-place performance at the 2003 NCAA II Outdoor Championships.
All three competitors are experienced at the national level, having earned All-America honors in their respective events within the last year and a half. Cooksey is a three-time All-American after earning her third honor in the indoor mile in March, while Boberg and Perry have earned All-America honors with sixth-place performances at the indoor national championships in their respective events.
Unlike the women, the men will be looking to capture their third individual national championship in track and field.
Senior Doug Schwartz (Centralia, Illinois) and junior Jesse Davis (Bloomington, Indiana) are both new to the national scene, but both bring impressive credentials. Schwartz is seeded 10th in the 5,000 meters with a season-best time of 14 minutes, 30.81 seconds, while Davis is seeded seventh in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a season-best time of nine minutes, 8.83 seconds.
Both will be looking to join the elite class of former USI standout Elly Rono, who won national championships in cross country, indoor, and outdoor track and field.
The NCAA II Outdoor Championships will begin Thursday, May 27 in Walnut, California. USIís schedule of events is listed below.
Thursday, May 27
Womenís Long Jump (Candace Perry): 7 p.m.
Menís 3,000-meter steeplechase prelims (Jesse Davis): 7:20 p.m.
Womenís 3,000 meter prelims (Heather Cooksey): 7:50 p.m.
Friday, May 28
Womenís 3,000 meter finals: 7:30 p.m.
Menís 5,000 meter prelims (Doug Schwartz): 8:20 p.m.
Womenís 5,000 meter prelims (Heather Cooksey): 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 29
Womenís High Jump (Abby Boberg): 7 p.m.
Womenís 5,000 meter finals: 8:15 p.m.
Menís 5,000 meter finals: 8:37 p.m.
All times are Central.
USI Sports Information