Nashville, Tenn. - Three Tennessee State University track and field athletes have earned a spot to participate in the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field East Preliminary Round.
The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee announced the field of 48 competitors per event which included Martinique Guice (long jump), Michael Rideout (400m) and Royce Dates (long jump).
From May 26-28, the qualifying athletes will compete on the E.C. Billy Hayes Track at Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex in Bloomington, Ind., on the campus of Indiana University. IU serves as the host after holding the MidEast Region Championship in 2005.
The top 12 from each event, from the East and West regions, will qualify for the NCAA Championship held June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa.
For the Tigerbelles, Guice makes her fourth appearance, third in the long jump, in regional competition and is ranked in a three-way tie at 15th. Guice's best performance this year is her regional qualifying mark of 20"6.25 (6.25m) just an inch and a half under her personal best of 20"7.75 (2009 OVC Outdoor Championship).
She is the only Tigerbelle to have qualified for the event since the NCAA began regional competition in 2003.
She sparked her career in 2008 when she qualified for the 100m and as a leg on the 4x100m relay team. That season, she made the region cut by picking up first-place in both events at the Ohio Valley Conference Outdoor Championship.
This season, Guice became an eight-time OVC Champion winning the long jump (6.07m) at the 2011 OVC Championship. It was her third consecutive outdoor title in the long jump matching the same feat in indoor competition in February. She finished out the year with three victories in the long jump to total eight in her career.
She captured wins at the Florida A&M Relays (5.55m), Morehouse Relays (5.84m) and South Carolina's Weems Baskin Relays (5.93m) while breaking the 20-foot barrier in the long jump twice this year.
Guice was also named OVC Female Athlete of the Week three times this year and has received the honor eight times in her career.
Two athletes will represent the Flying Tigers this week at the East regional. It's the first time a member of the squad has qualified for the post season since 2009 with two or more competing since 2008.
Rideout and Dates make their first regional appearance after finishing in the top three in their events at the 2011 OVC Championship in early May. They each become the fifth members of the Flying Tigers to qualify for regional competition in their particular events.
Rideout has improved and is peaking at the right time of the season after running his career best in his last two races.
At the Cardinal Twilight, a last-chance qualifier hosted by the University of Louisville, he posted his PR time of 47.33s finishing as the top collegiate runner. He finished fifth overall, behind an unattached competitor and three members of the Venezuelan National Team.
As a result, he squeezed on to the qualifying list and ranks 46-of-48 in the event. This season, Rideout has recorded his career time on four occasions with one resulting in a second-place finish at the 2011 OVC Outdoor Championship (47.51s).
This season he has picked up two overall victories running career times at the Alabama Relays (47.95s) and at home in the Boston-Moon Classic (47.61s). Rideout was named the OVC Male Track Athlete of the Week five times in his career including four during the 2011 season.
Dates enters the regional ranked 27th in the long jump with a mark of 7.53m. The freshman transferred in mid-season from Lipscomb in December of 2010. He recorded his qualifying mark (24"08.5) at home in the Boston-Moon Classic. His career best ranked first in the OVC this year.
On the year, Dates finished in the top four in the event in three competitions including a third-place finish at the 2011 OVC Outdoor Championship. He becomes the second Flying Tiger in the last three seasons to qualify for the long jump.