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Colonial Relays Brings 78 Colleges, 45 All-Americans, and Over 1,500 Athletes to W&M this Weekend

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WILLIAMSBURG - The William and Mary track and field teams are proud to host the 45th Annual Colonial Relays this weekend, with 78 teams competing for the championship titles and over 1,500 athletes shooting for qualifying times to national and international championship competition. Action begins Friday, April 2, at 9 a.m., and continues Saturday, April 3, also starting at 9 a.m. All running and jumping events will be held inside Zable Stadium, while all throws will take place at the Stimson Throwing Events Area.

Meet Central
Campus Map with parking noted

Outstanding Competition
Among the entered athletes this weekend are 45 All-Americans, who have totaled 81 awards between them.

- Samaiyah Islam of Real Deal Track Club collected seven awards at the Division II level for St. Augustine's College from 2001-2003, and Georgetown's Andrew Bumbalough is the leader among active collegians, with six awards to his credit.

- In 2009-10, 22 competitors have collected 24 All-American certificates.

- In the team race, Georgetown brings a meet-high eight All-Americans to Zable Stadium, and also holds a high of 15 All-America awards.

Post-Collegiate Success
A number of outstanding post-collegiate athletes will compete this weekend, including two Olympians and four former USAT&F National Champions.

- Sherry Fletcher, of Real Deal Track Club, was a 2008 Olympian for Grenada and a standout sprinter at Louisiana State. While competing for the Tigers, she won the 2007 NCAA Championship in the 100m Dash, and was the bronze medalist at the 2007 Pan-American Games at 200m and 10th at the World Championships in the same event.

- Eric Ndri, competing unattached this weekend, was a three-time Olympian and represented Cote d'Ivoire at the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic Games. In 2001, he won both the 100m and 200m dash at the NAIA National Outdoor Championships for Central State in Ohio.

- At the USAT&F National Club Championships, Nicole Dumpson (Lemans TC) and Samaiyah Islam (Real Deal T.C.) have both claimed championship titles in the hurdling events.

- Dominic Berger of Pierce Sports Training was a three-time All-American in the hurdles at Maryland, and won the 2005 USAT&F Junior National Championships in the 110m hurdles before going on to take third at the Pan-American Junior Games.

- Lonnie Hooker of Strive TC was a national champion last year, taking gold in the 100m dash in the 45-49 age group at the USAT&F Master's Championships.

- Also among the post-collegiate runners are five recent graduates with All-American pedigree. Local runners will remember Ian Fitzgerald '09, who was ninth in the mile at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships. Georgetown graduates include three-time All-American Maggie Infeld, and one-time All-Americans Liam Boylan-Pett and Mike Banks. Patrick Roach earned his two All-American awards in 2009, at both the indoor and outdoor Division III 800m championships.

A Meet of Champions
In total, there are four NCAA titles and two NAIA national crowns represented in the field of athletes. Nafee Harris of Indiana University of Pennsylvania has won each of the past two NCAA Division II long jump titles, and Sherry Fletcher was the 2007 Division I 100m dash champion at LSU. Eric Ndri won both the 100m and 200m dashes at the 2001 NAIA Championships, and Lynchburg's Ricky Flynn was the 2009 Division III champion in cross country.

Returning Titlists
Returning to defend their titles from last year's Colonial Relays are 13 individuals and four relays.

Women:
Ashlyn DeCruise, Mount St. Mary's, 100m Dash
Maggie Infield, Unattached, 800m Run (won for Georgetown)
Landria Buckley, Howard, 100m Hurdles
Jernail Hayes, Seton Hall, 400m Hurdles
Nicole Kazuba, W&M, Pole Vault
Natalie Baird, W&M, Discus
Jillian Seamon, Delaware, Javelin
Seton Hall's 4x400m Relay

Men:
Chad Brown, Mount St. Mary's, 100m Dash
Thomas Speller, Norfolk State, 200m Dash
Brandon Jones, Pierce Sports Training, 400m Dash (won for Hampton)
Liam Boylan-Pett, Unattached, 800m Run (won for Georgetown)
Brian Wallace, VCU, Long Jump
Brandon Heroux, W&M, Javelin
Seton Hall's 4x400m Relay
Virginia Tech's 4x800m Relay
Georgetown's Shuttle Hurdle Relay

The Team Race
Each of the top-eight collegiate finishers in every event earn points for their team, and at the end of the meet, the winning squad for each men and women receive a plaque and the title of Colonial Relays Champions.

- There are 33 women's teams and 35 men's teams entered in the meet, encompassing all three NCAA Divisions and even an NAIA school (Ursuline of Ohio).

- Bucknell has brought the largest squad on both sides of the meet, entering 37 women and 48 men.

- Other the other end of the spectrum are four men's teams: Furman, Delaware State, Southern Virginia, and Lynchburg, all of whom are sending a single athlete.

- Lynchburg College believes in quality over quantity, as its lone representative is five-time All-American Ricky Flynn.

- Rutgers' men's team has entered 11 relays in the meet's seven team events. On the women's side, both James Madison and Georgetown have each brought eight relay teams to Williamsburg.

Of Local Interest
- Seven of the eight local college and university teams will be competing in Williamsburg this weekend. The host Tribe of William and Mary, the Spartans of Norfolk State, the Captains of Christopher Newport, and the Lady Pirates of Hampton University are all scheduled to compete.

- This weekend could nearly be called the Virginia State Championships - every Division I team in the state with the exception of Liberty, Radford, Longwood, and VMI will be racing around Zable Stadium.

- William and Mary is providing four All-Americans to the meet, accounting for seven awards. Jon Grey (Lancaster, Pa.), Patterson Wilhelm (Lynchburg, Va.), and Colin Leak (Chadds Ford, Pa.) each claimed All-American honors this fall in leading the Tribe to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA cross country championships, and Grey added a fifth-place individual finish in the indoor 5,000m less than one month ago for his second All-America certificate. Not to be forgotten is grad student Christo Landry (Falls Church, Va.), a three-time All-American in cross country who will be finishing his eligibility this spring after being granted a sixth year by the NCAA.

- Other locals to watch include the athletes of Real Deal Track Club, headquartered in Norfolk, which has grown into one of the premier club teams in the nation. Their roster for the weekend includes former NCAA Champion Sherry Fletcher and seven-time All-American Samaiyah Islam.

- Competing under the banner of Pierce Sports Training is former Hampton Pirates standout Brandon Jones.

Odds and Ends
- Only one runner in the meet has helped lead her team to the national team championship: Villanova's Bogdana Mimic. In November, Mimic was the third Wildcat across the finish line and took 22nd overall to earn All-American accolades and help Villanova upset heavily-favored Washington for the NCAA cross country championship. This weekend, she is entered in the 800m run, and as part of Villanova's 4x800m relay.

- Last year, the women's shuttle hurdle relay record fell to Seton Hall and the Pirates also came within a quarter-second of resetting the women's 4x800m record as well. With the number of All-Americans in the meet this season, many of the meet's records may be in serious jeopardy yet again.

- William and Mary's throwing corps have a good chance to clean up on their home field. Williamsburg native Ashley Williams has been on a tear over the past year, setting school records in the indoor weight throw and outdoor hammer throw, while also having her best season-yet in the shot put. Sophomore Natalie Baird (Sterling, Va.) won the Relay's discus title as a freshman and broke W&M's 27-year-old record in the event, and is also a threat to medal in the hammer throw. On the men's side, junior Zach Jordan (Dublin, Ohio) has enjoyed a breakout season in the hammer throw, and sophomore Brandon Heroux (Westfield, N.J.) won the javelin last year before going on to a top-20 finish at the NCAA Championships as a freshman.

- Strictly by the numbers, 1,522 individual athletes are entered in the meet and 296 relays are slated to compete. Taken in total, 3,076 entries were received. Competitors are representing 37 different colleges and universities, and six track clubs.

- The NCAA eliminated qualifying standards for Division I this season, and instead will invite the top 96 athletes in each event at year's end to compete in one of two regional preliminary sites, in Austin, Texas for teams in the West Region, and in Greensboro, N.C. for teams in the East Region. Every team at the Colonial Relays comes from the East, so when you hear the announcers proclaiming that the last race's winner has run the fastest time in the East this year, you'll know what he means.

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