Track Athletes March To Madness

March 4, 2003

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Every inch will count for freshman Kierra Foster and senior Natalie Dye tomorrow, as they travel to the UNC Indoor Madness meet for another chance to qualify for the upcoming NCAA Indoor Track Championships. Both are school record-holders in their events and have come heartbreakingly close to the qualifying marks.

For Dye, the team's star pole vaulter, the race to qualify is a familiar challenge. She set the provisional qualifying mark of 12-6 in her first meet last indoor season, but was not selected to compete. This year, both Dye's efforts and the qualifying standard have been raised to a new level. Dye broke her previous personal best to set a new school record this season, jumping to a height of 12-7.5 at the U.S. Pole Vault Summit and at the Meyo Invitational. The provisional qualifying standard of 12-9.5 lies only two inches away.

Freshman Kierra Foster is turning heads this year, in just her first season of collegiate track. Her explosive power and high finishes have qualified her for this weekend's ECAC Championships in the triple jump, long jump and 60 meter hurdles. This ties her with junior Toni Jefferson for the Terp competing in the most ECAC events this season. She set the school record in the preliminaries of the 60 meter hurdles at the ACC Indoor Championships, finishing in 8.51 seconds-less than one second from the NCAA provisional qualifying mark of 8.43. Her personal best long jump of 20-2.5 lies less than two inches away from the 20-4.25 NCAA provisional qualifying standard.

The UNC Indoor Madness meet will be held Wednesday, March 5, at Chapel Hill's Dick Taylor Track, located in the Eddie Smith Fieldhouse. Competition begins at 3 p.m. with the men's weight throw and will conclude at 7:40 p.m. with the men's 4x400 meter relay. Following the meet, Dye and Foster will join their teammates at the ECAC Championships in Boston, Mass., this weekend.