Cross Moves Onto NCAA Bubble After Last Chance Meet

March 5, 2005

Tennessee 800-meter man Paul Cross substantially improved his lot at Iowa State's NCAA Track and Field Qualifying Meet Saturday though the jury is still out on his NCAA chances.

Chasing his last chance to make the NCAA indoor championships field next week, Cross ran a season-best time of 1 minute, 48.01 seconds in the 800, finishing sixth overall and second in his heat, at Iowa State's Lied Recreation Center in Ames, Iowa. Cross' time lacked just one-hundredth of a second from meeting the NCAA automatic qualifier of 1:48.00 and significantly topped the provisional standard of 1:49.50. Cross chopped more than two seconds off his previous season-best time from last week's SEC indoor championships, where he placed third.

In normal years, Cross' qualification would be considered a sure thing. However, this season Cross must wait with anticipation until the final qualifying lists are posted early next week. Assistant head coach George Watts said that 14 800 men will be accepted into the NCAA meet for certain, though the final count could be higher. He knows of 11 runners who own NCAA automatic qualifiers. Watts will sort through the results of this weekend's last chance meets around the country to see if anyone else earned an automatic qualifier and bumped Cross lower on the list and out of the NCAA meet.

Eric Pierce will not make the NCAA cut after his third-place, 50-feet, 6 3/4-inch triple jump effort Saturday at the Virginia Tech Last Chance Invitational in Blacksburg, Va. Pierce needed to leap farther than his provisional-qualifying, season-best jump of 51-3 3/4, acheived at the SEC meet last weekend, to have a chance to make the NCAA triple jump field.

Tennessee should know its final list of qualifiers for the NCAA indoor championships Tuesday. The NCAA indoor championships take place Friday and Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark.



NCAA Track and Field Qualifying Meet, Ames, Iowa
1. Joel Williams, Jackson State1:46.43**
6. Paul Cross, Tennessee 1:48.01*,SB
Virginia Tech Last Chance Invitational, Blacksburg, Va.
Triple jump
1. Tuan Wreh, Unattached 53-1 3/4**
3. Eric Pierce, Tennessee 50-6 3/4
SB-season-best mark, PR-personal record/career-best mark, *-NCAA indoor provisional qualifier, **-NCAA indoor automatic qualifier.


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