NEWS, NOTES &
The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
By Bethany Bradsher
Focus shifts to postseason
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In every sport at East Carolina, the latter part of the schedule holds two
tempting potential rewards: The Conference USA Championship and whatever
It might be a bowl game, a tournament bid or a regional, but in any sport’s
lingo it’s a season’s ultimate destination.
The athletes of several ECU teams are basking this spring in the glow of
postseason promise, some even before the arrival of their sport's C-USA
In track and field, like swimming, athletes can qualify for NCAA regional
competition at any time during the season by reaching a standard qualifying
It was a particularly good weekend for the Pirate track and field athletes,
as three new NCAA qualifiers brought the total number from ECU to eight. One
athlete who can start making her travel plans is thrower Danielle Eiler, who
in the past month has broken her own school record in the discus twice and
made the NCAA Regionals for that event.
“I’ve been pretty much going up every weekend,” said Eiler, a senior from
McHenry, IL, who broke her own record at the Mountains vs. Beaches
competition in Cullowhee and again at the Duke Twilight Meet. “I’ve actually
been nervous for the first time in three years.”
At Duke, with her anxiety unusually high, Eiler stepped up and threw a
47.88m on her first try, breaking her record of less than a month, the 47.05
she threw at Mountains vs. Beaches. Now she is guaranteed her first trip to
the regional meet, to be held May 29-30 in Greensboro. But before that, she
will join her team at the Conference USA Championships in Tulsa.
This spring marks Eiler’s last chance to make a splash in her sport, but she
is sure that the ECU track and field program is heading for higher ground
under head coach Curt Kraft, in his fourth year at the helm of the program.
“It’s really amazing where he has taken it,” Eiler said of Kraft. “I feel
like I’ve been part of something really important.”
Eiler will have plenty of company at the regional meet, as seven of her
teammates have also already qualified. They are: The 4x100 relay team of
Adian Sanderson, Jerek Hewett, Anthony Green and Kevin Thompson; Kevin
Thompson for the 200m dash; Brittany Copeland in the 5,000m run and Matthew
Dennish and Jarrett Newby for the 800m run.
In other Pirate postseason developments:
The women’s golf team
learned on April 27 that it had earned its second consecutive at-large
bid for the East Regional, which will be held this weekend at the
University of Florida. The Lady Pirates, who are the No. 12 seed,
finished the season 96-35-2 and placed third at C-USA Championships.
When the Pirate
softball team faces Texas-El Paso on Thursday night at the C-USA
tournament, it will be as the No. 2 seed. The Lady Pirates (40-14, 19-5)
had the most wins in the conference, but Tulsa claimed the regular
season title and the No. 1 seed because of a higher winning percentage
(.800 to ECU’s .792).
The volleyball team
made an important offseason acquisition with the hiring of Patricia Rolf
as head coach. Rolf comes to ECU from Marquette University, where she
spent seven years as head coach and compiled a 103-101 record. She also
led the Golden Eagles to three straight winning seasons from 2004 to
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05/06/2009 06:43:10 PM