McKee, Sears Close Season at NCAA Championships

    June 11, 2014

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    By: Matt Burkholder
    mburkholder@csufresno.edu
    GoBulldogs.com

    Interviews
    Jr. Je'Nia Sears
    Sr. Meagan McKee
    Jumps Coach Chris Baptista
    Throws Coach Lisa Misipeka

    EUGENE, Ore. -- Fresno State women's track and field athletes Je'Nia Sears and Meagan McKee closed their successful seasons on Wednesday at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

    Sears finished ninth out of 24 competitors in the women's long jump and earned Second-Team All-America honors. She jumped 20 feet, 4.25 inches on her second jump of the prelims that earned her three more attempts alongside eight others who qualified for the final heat.

    "For Je'Nia to be in the top-nine in the United States and to earn All-America honors speaks for itself," said head coach Scott Winsor. "She should be very proud of herself. The good thing is I know she's not satisfied with this honor. That's the true sign of a great athlete and the type of mindset you're always looking for as a coach."

    With her fourth, fifth and sixth attempts, Sears fell short of improving on her mark that quailified her for the finals. She jumped 19 feet, 10.75 inches, 20 feet, 0.25 inches and fouled, respectively, with her three additional jumps, keeping Sears locked into ninth-place.

    "I was really excited to come out and compete with these ladies, said Sears. "I got ninth overall, which is a big accomplishment for me because I haven't been here before. I was a little bummed that I did not make the podium, but I'm glad I got to compete with these ladies."

    The junior from Fresno (Edison HS) entered Wednesday's competition seeded 13th, improving her position by four spots at the end of the day.

    "She's knocking on the door," said jumps coach Chris Baptista. "I think we're going to see some great things from Je'Nia in the future.

    Earlier in the day Sears' teammate McKee closed her career with an 18th place finish in the women's hammer throw. The senior from San Jose recorded a toss of 191 feet (58.22 meters) on her first throw of the competition to garner her final position in the championships.

    "For Meagan to be able to finish inside the top 20 in the country is a very high caliber performance," said WInsor. "We will miss her a great deal and she'll be very difficult to replace."

    McKee's second throw traveled 188 feet, five inches (57.43m), which gave her one last chance to improve her mark in her third and final throw of the prelims. McKee went for a big throw and finished with a foul.

    "I came in ranked 23rd and I am leaving 18th, so I can't really complain," McKee said. "I had a really good day of practice yesterday and I was hoping to do the same today, but I am happy to be here and this experience was such a positive."

    The four-year letterwinner's career comes after earning her first trip to the NCAA finals. She is a two-time preliminary round qualifier in both the hammer and shot put and broke through in 2014 to qualify for the finals in the hammer.

    "Meagan did an amazing job," said throws coach Lisa Misipeka. "She did everything she could, she fought and did everything I asked her to do. We're very proud of her, she was the Bulldog the Year and she finished that way."

    RESULTS

    Je'Nia Sears - Long Jump (9th)
    Prelims: Rd. 1 - Foul; Rd. 2 - 6.20m (20-4.25); Rd. 3 - 5.83m (19-1.50)
    Finals: Rd. 4 - 6.06m (19-10.75); Rd. 5 - Foul; Rd. 6 - 6.10m (20-0.25)

    Pulpit rock

    Meagan McKee - Hammer Throw (18th)
    Prelims: Rd. 1 - 58.22m (191-0); Rd. 2 - 57.43m (188-5); Rd. 3 - Foul

    Pulpit rock

    (i>Photo Courtesy of Kirby Lee

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