Already the NCAA Division II women's 400 hurdles record-holder, Belle snapped the championship meet record in her signature event. Well ahead of her competitors, Belle crossed the finish line in 56.14 seconds, surpassing the old record of 56.38 set by Samantha Elliot of Johnson C. Smith University in 2013. Belle now heads to Saturday's finals to defend her national title in the 400 hurdles.
Her record-breaking run capped an impressive day for the Falcons and Lady Falcons, the nation's top-ranked and third-ranked teams, respectively. The men's 4x100 squad of Brent Arceneaux (Sr./Snellville, GA), Burkheart Ellis, Jr. (Sr./Raleigh, NC), Kendall Kee (Sr./Shelby, NC) and Daniel Jamieson (Sr./Windsor, CT) opened the running portion of the meet by winning the second heat and advancing to Saturday's finals in a top qualifying time of 39.50.
The three-time defending champion Falcons continued to display their speed in the men's 100 dash preliminaries. The trio of Kee, Ellis and Jamieson ran three of the four fastest times to reach Saturday's finals. Kee posted the best time (10.27) in winning the second heat while Jamieson and Ellis ran the third- and fourth-fastest preliminary times, respectively. Jamieson, who won the third heat, barely placed ahead of Ellis, who finished second in the first heat (10.291 seconds to 10.298 seconds).
Several other Falcons ran fast times to qualify for Saturday's finals in their respective events. Shawn Rowe (Jr./West Palm Beach, Fla.) ran the second-best preliminary time (50.41) in the men's 400 hurdles to win the first heat. Ornella Livingston (Sr./St. Ann, Jamaica) won the women's 100 dash second heat in 11.50, which was second-fastest in preliminaries.
The women's 4x100 relay quartet of Shamia Lassiter (Sr./Chesapeake, VA), Leah Barker (So./St. Michaels, Barbados), Shakinah Brooks (Jr./Raleigh, NC) and Livingston had the third-fastest prelim time (45.42).
Brooks and Amenze Uhunmwangho (Sr./Ebo, Nigeria) scored the first points for the Lady Falcons. They both garnered All-America honors after Brooks finished fourth (20-8½) and Uhunmwangho tied for eighth (19-9¾) in the women's long jump.
The championship meet continues Friday, May 27, beginning at 9:30 a.m. with the decathlon. The preliminary running events will start at 5:35 p.m.
Watch the championship meet live on ncaa.com. The live results link is -http://www.leonetiming.com/2016/Outdoor/NCAADII/.