JACKSONVILLE, FL – South Carolina State senior sprinter Demek Kemp was one of 24 competitors to advance to Friday’s quarterfinals in the 100 meters at the 2019 NCAA Div. 1 East Preliminary Round, being hosted at the University of North Florida on Thursday.
Kemp won his heat in a time of 10.27, the fifth-best time of the day, but far off the school-record time of 10.03 he ran earlier in the season. Three of Thursday’s top five performers in the 100 meters first-round were from the MEAC. Kemp will be joined in the 24-man quarterfinals by Coppin’s Joseph Amoah, who had the top time of the day (10.21), and MEAC 100-meter champion Rodney Rowe of North Carolina A&T, who was third (10.26). The event is set to run at 6:15 Friday.
Also in action Friday for the Bulldogs was sophomore long jumper Daniel Seawright of Orangeburg, who failed to advance. Seawright finished 17th with a leap of 7.41 meters and only the top 12 finishers earned a trip to Austin, TX, site of the NCAA Championship Jun. 5-8. Ironically, if he had matched his bronze medal finish at the recent MEAC Championship of 7.51 meters, he would have made the field, as the 12th spot was claimed by Ohio State’s DaJuan Seward in an exact time of 7.51 meters.
SC State’s other heralded sprinter Tyrell Richard was a medical scratch in the 400 meters, according to Bulldog head coach Tim Langford, who did not give any specifics.
“I made a decision based on what I saw and I think it was the best decision for Tyrell,” Langford said. “It’s tough not to have him in the 400 meters at Nationals, but I will always place the health of our athletes at the forefront of our program. And, I’m at peace with my decision.
“At the same time, I’m glad Demek got the “q” (qualifier) by his name and still has a chance to make it to Texas. He ran a solid heat and used good strategy to make it to Friday’s quarterfinals.”
Also still with a chance to advance to Texas is the SC State 4x100-meter relay team of Kemp, Seawright, Malik Watson, Waddell-Rembert-Jett and alternate Kameron Hammond, which will compete in Saturday’s quarterfinals at 6:15. The group earlier set a school record in a time of 39.63.