BALTIMORE – For the first time in school history, UMBC is sending three individual track and field athletes to the NCAA Preliminaries as junior Amanda Deller (Aberdeen, Md./Aberdeen), sophomore Brandan McGee (Hiram, Ohio/Crestwood) and freshman Mercedes Jackson (Huntingtown, Md./Huntingtown) head to Jacksonville, Fla. for this weekend's meet. Each athlete won his individual event title at the America East Championships earlier this month, but also qualified for the regional meet by recording a top-48 finish in the East Region.
Deller, a six-time shot put champion in the America East, travels to the Sunshine State as the first UMBC field athlete to make the regional meet since Ashley Fauntleroy back in 2008. After winning both the shot put and weight throw and earning the title of Most Outstanding Field Athlete at the conference indoor meet in February, the junior extended her reign in the shot put with another title at the outdoor meet at Maine. Deller's winning toss of 14.81m (48'7.25") at the championships slots her second on UMBC's all-time list, trailing only former NCAA Champion and multiple-year Olympian Cleopatra Borel.
In the steeplechase, McGee looks to continue to break records and set new standards in the school record book. Already the UMBC record holder in the event with his time of 9:01.73 at the America East meet, McGee is the first steepler in school history to make the cut for the regional meet. In addition he is the first UMBC male athlete to qualify for the meet since Adrian Arthur and Antonio Thomas did so during the 2009 season.
Just a rookie, Jackson earns the trip to the First Coast after a remarkable freshman campaign in which she became a two-time America East champion and was named the Most Outstanding Rookie at both the indoor and outdoor meets. She is the first UMBC female sprinter to qualify for the NCAA regional meet in addition to being the first athlete to earn qualification in two events.
In her very first collegiate meet, the Bison Opener in December, she broke the school record in the 60m dash. Later in the season she would break her own mark (7.49) and added the top time in the 200m (24.00) to her claim. At the indoor conference meet, the sprinter won the 60m dash while earning a silver medal in the 200m event.
Moving outside, Jackson continued her assault on the record book, duplicating her indoor feat by breaking a school record in her first meet, this time the 100m dash at the Weems Baskin Invitational in South Carolina. Through the spring she was unrelenting in her chase for history, setting new UMBC records in the 100m (11.66) and 200m (23.80), as well as anchoring the 4x100 (46.47) and 4x200 (1:38.04) relays to school-best times.
The NCAA East Region Preliminary meet will be held on the campus of the University of North Florida and will begin on Thurs., May 24 and run through Sat., May 26