ASHEVILLE, N.C. - UNC Asheville senior sprinter Natalie Pearson is headed to Drake University on Tuesday for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Pearson will be one of 24 sprinters competing in the 200-meter dash on Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. CST.
This is the second straight year that Pearson has qualified for the national championships. Last year, she finished 17th.
The Sheffield, England native has enjoyed an outstanding senior year. She won Big South Conference titles in both the 100 and 200 meters and was named Big South Conference Female Most Outstanding Track Performer. During the Outdoor season, Pearson only lost one race she competed in and that a close second in the 100 meters at Duke.
She hopes to make the finals on Saturday which will be at 12:41 CST. Saturday's finals will be televised live by CBS.
"I'm excited about going back to the championships and hope I can improve on what I did last year," stated Pearson. "I feel like I've been improving with each week and am peaking at just the right time.
"However, I know that I'll be running against some of the top sprinters in the world," added Pearson. "It's going to be some tremendous competition. I'll do the best I can and that's all you can do."
Head Coach Jesse Norman will be accompanying Pearson on the trip.
"Natalie getting here for the second straight year is an amazing story," commented Norman. "She's beaten out some great sprinters from all over the country to get here. Last year, she wasn't 100 percent healthy, and this year she is and that has to help. No matter what happens, we've been awful lucky to have Natalie Pearson as a part of our program."
The Mass Communications major graduated last month and will use her degree this week. She is scheduled to write a blog each day that will be published by www.uncabulldogs.com about her time in Iowa.