Rams shift to high gear for NCAA East Region

RICHMOND, Va. – As the 2005 NCAA Women's Track and Field East Regional begins competition today, five Virginia Commonwealth athletes will look to qualify for the NCAA Championships. Senior Cheri Manning (Glen Allen, Va./J.R. Tucker), juniors Tanika Brown (Powhatan, Va.) and Yvette Simmons, sophomore Pia Ruth (Rahway, N.J.) and freshman Sheemeca Berkley (Madison Heights, Va./Amherst County) will all be competing throughout the two-day event in Manhattan, N.Y.

Brown, who won the high jump at the 2003 East Regional, enters the meet as the highest-seeded Ram. Her leap of 5-10.75 was the eighth best in the region, as she hopes to earn her third-straight berth in the NCAA Championships when the high jump begins at noon on Saturday.

Manning will be the lone Ram competing in multiple events. The senior claimed the Colonial Athletic Association titles on both the 200m, in which the preliminary round will begin Friday at 7:00 p.m., and the 400m, which will run Friday at 5:00 p.m.

Simmons also qualified for the Regional by earning a CAA title. The junior will be competing in the triple jump Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

Ruth and Berkley, both CAA Champions as well, will begin their quest for an NCAA berth on Friday. Ruth will run in the 100m hurdles at 4:30 p.m. and Berkley will compete in the long jump at 5:00 p.m.

Those that finish in the top eight will advance to the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif., June 8-11.

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