DES MOINES, Iowa – Albert Fournette and Jasmine Manuel will take center stage on Saturday, June 9 when they compete and represent the Ragin’ Cajuns Track and Field program in the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium.
The Ragin’ Cajuns duo will begin their quest for a national championship and All-American status at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
This marks the second year in a row that Drake Stadium hosts the NCAA Championships. Fournette is making a return trip after competing in the national finals in shot put last season. Manuel is making her first career appearance at the outdoor championships.
ESPNU will air a live two-hour broadcast of Saturday's action from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The ESPN announcing team is comprised of Trey Bender (play-by-play), Larry Rawson (analyst) and Jill Montgomery (reporter).
Live results will be available online at NCAA.com and FlashResults.com, and accessible via a link from the Championship Central page on the Drake Athletics website, www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com.
Fournette and Manuel both advanced to the NCAA Championships by being among the Top 24 finishers in their respective event during the NCAA Preliminary Rounds held May 24-26. That includes the Top 12 finishers at the East site held at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., and the Top 12 finishers at the West site on Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.
This season’s trip to Des Moines gives Fournette a chance at redemption. During the 2011 event, he did not record a mark in the shot put at after committing a foul in three attempts.
The New Orleans native reached Saturday’s shot put finals by finishing sixth at the NCAA East Preliminary in Jacksonville on Saturday, May 26. Fournette threw 60-plus feet in each of his first three attempts with his top mark of 19.08m/62-7 ¼ placing him among the group of 12 that earned a trip to Des Moines.
The New Orleans native finished within a foot of his school outdoor record toss of 19.39m/63-7 ½ set at the Texas Relays in March. Fournette’s qualifying mark was his seventh distance of 60-plus feet in a meet this season.
Manuel caps off her spectacular senior campaign in the triple jump with her appearance in Saturday’s championship round. The Sun Belt Conference indoor and outdoor champion, Manuel recorded a qualifying mark of 13.28m/43-7 at the NCAA East Preliminary in Jacksonville on Saturday, May 26.
The Hammond native narrowly missed tying her school outdoor record of 13.29m/43-7 ¼ set at the Texas Relays in March. Adding in her indoor season performances, Manuel has sailed above 40 feet eight times in 2012.
This is the second NCAA Championships appearance of the 2012 season for Fournette and Manuel. They both competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships held in Nampa, Idaho back in March.
Both received All-American honors at the indoor championships, with Manuel taking home first team honors in the triple jump after placing fourth with a leap of 13.31m/43-8, which set a new school indoor record. Fournette picked up second team honors at indoor nationals with a shot put toss of 18.62m/61-1 ¼ which placed him 12th in the event.
First team USTFCCCA All-America honors are awarded to those who earn any portion of a team point at the national championships, or reach an eight-entrant final. Second team All-America honors are handed out to those whose final placing in the national meet ranges from ninth to 16th place.
Those who participated at the final site but did not place in the meet’s Top 16 are listed as honorable mention for the All-America award.
Manuel seeks to become the Cajuns’ first female outdoor All-American since JoJo Harris claimed honors in the discus in 1994.
Fournette, who earned honorable mention All-American honors last season, seeks to become the first Cajuns’ male athlete to place in the NCAA Outdoor Championships since Lawrence Willis finished third in the triple jump (54-8 ¼) in the 2004 event held at Mike A. Meyers Stadium in Austin, Texas.
Louisiana’s last national championship occurred in 1995 when Ndabe Mdhlongwa claimed top honors in the men’s triple jump.
Results will be available on RaginCajuns.com after competition is completed in Des Moines on Saturday
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