The Wolfpacker

March 2012

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 77 of 95

A BY BRUCE WINKWORTH winning track and field program needs athletes who can score, and score at the highest level. Ideally, the winning program will have balance, with top athletes scoring in most every event. The 2012 NC State women's track and field squad has its share of quality athletes. The Wolfpack had three All-ACC perform- ers, seven NCAA regional qualifiers and two All-Americans in 2011. Balance was and remains an issue, however, and the same goes for the number of athletes who scored points nationally. ■ PREVIEW WOMEN'S TRACK That, head track coach Rollie Geiger said, is where the program needs improvement. "The bottom line with our women's pro- gram is we have to get better," Geiger said. "We have athletes who have the athletic talent to not just get to the regional level, as happened last year, but we've got to get them to nationals. We have too much talent not to have several of our women at the national championships." The program features numerous front- line performers who are standouts or po- tential standouts. Fifth-year senior throw- ers Brittany Hampton and Lawanda Henry were regional qualifiers a year ago, with Henry earning All-Atlantic Coast Confer- ence accolades in the hammer. Both are back for their final season in 2012, al- though Hampton will most likely be out of action until the outdoor season after having her first child this winter. There is depth in the throws, with red- shirt freshmen Nijena Pearce and Tremani- sha Taylor. Pearce, the younger sister of men's thrower Grant Pearce, has already set several personal records during the in- door season, while Taylor came close to making the Junior National Team last sum- mer. True freshmen Jazmyne Childs and Sequoia Watkins both have huge upsides, but most likely will redshirt this season. The jumps also figure to be a big source of points for the Wolfpack, a group led by multiple-event junior Karimah Shepherd, who is off to a strong start in the indoor season, setting personal bests in both the long jump and triple jump. "I'm excited about this season," Shep- herd said. "This is my junior year. My freshman year wasn't all that great, but my sophomore year was pretty good. I feel I'm ready to break out. My goal is to stay in the top three in the conference and to qualify for nationals and score points at nationals." Shepherd is part of an event group that 78 ■ THE WOLFPACKER TAKING THE NEXT STEP The Wolfpack Aims To Make An Impact At The National Level Sophomore Kenyetta Iyevbele was one of NC State's two All-Americans in 2011, achieving the feat in the 800 meters during the spring. PHOTO COURTESY NC STATE MEDIA RELATIONS

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