June 11, 2003
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - This year's NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will see senior pole vaulter Natalie Dye vie for top placement among the nation's best track stars. The meet, held at California State in Sacramento, Cal., marks Dye's first and last appearance at the contest, as she exhausts her eligibility this year. Competition begins today with several qualifying rounds and ends Saturday, June 14.
Dye takes the stage Thursday at 10 a.m., when qualifying rounds for the pole vault competition begin. There she will face 27 other talented women, some of whom are seeded at heights of 14 feet or more. In order to advance to the event finals on Saturday at 6 p.m., Dye may have to do as well as, or better than, her school-record height of 12-9.5. Although a daunting task, it is a familiar challenge for the senior, who reset her own school record three times during the outdoor season this year.
If Dye achieves All-American status, it would mark the second year in a row a Terp has earned the honor, after Ruth Kura finished eighth in the weight throw at the 2002 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
Joining Dye in representing the ACC is Florida State's Lacy Johnson, who was the NCAA East Regional champion. Also competing from the conference is Clemson's Joana Costa, who tied for second at the regional contest, and North Carolina's Tatyana Kirichenko.
The NCAA Championships meet, in addition to giving Dye a chance to earn national recognition, also affords her the opportunity to familiarize herself with her future local region. She will pursue postgraduate studies at Stanford University in Palo Alto in the fall, just two hours away from Sacramento.