Delaware, OH (5/26/11) –Freshman Heather Gearity (Rutherford, NJ / Rutherford) advanced to the finals of the 400 meter hurdles with the fourth-fastest time in qualifying at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships held at Ohio Wesleyan University's Selby Field and Gauthier Track on Thursday evening.
Gearity posted a time of 1:01.18 finishing second in her heat and will race for a national championship on Saturday at 3:45 pm. Gearity is looking to become the first Red Hawk to win the event since Tierra Hicks in 2003 and just the fourth MSU woman athlete to claim a national title.
Following a short turnaround, Gearity then tried to help the 4x400 relay into the final however that group failed to advance as they registered a time of 3:55.02. Gearity was joined on that relay by Ashadaya Patterson (Trenton, NJ / Northern Burlington), Michelle McNulty (Bayonne, NJ / Bayonne) and Ashley Powell (East Orange, NJ / Marylawn of the Oranges).
Patterson will look to advance to the finals of the 100 meter hurdles on Friday as she runs in the preliminaries at 6:45 pm. The finals will be contested on Saturday, May 28 at 2:25 pm.
Both Patterson and Gearity qualified for the NCAA Championships via the automatic qualifying mark.
Patterson posted hers at the NJAC Championships on May 7 as she claimed the league title in the event. She ran a time of 14.48 seconds and went on to earn Outstanding Track Athlete honors for the meet. Patterson enters the NCAAs with the 10th fastest time in the country this season.
Gearity, named the NJAC Rookie of the Year, recorded her qualifying mark at the Penn Relays on April 28. She registered a time of 1:01.21 seconds which at the time was the fastest in the nation. Gearity’s time currently ranks fifth in Division III.
Meanwhile the 1,600 meter relay team qualified provisionally for the NCAA Championships at the conference meet as they won that event with a time of 3:53.35 setting a new school record. The group lowered that time two weeks ago at the Swarthmore Last Chance Meet to 3:52.52 and made the list of teams in the event.
Montclair State has won three individual outdoor titles: Nacole Moore and Monique Riddick in the shot put in 2002 and 2009, respectively and Hicks in 2003.