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4x100 Team Races to Nationals

4x100 Team Races To NationalsCHICAGO, Ill. - May 28, 2019 - After a 19-year drought from competing at the NCAA’s Division I West Regional meet, the penultimate meet before the nation’s National Championship, the Chicago State Cougars’ 4x100-meter relay team made their presence known last week in Sacramento, Calif.

Comprised of freshman Matthew Brown, sophomore Olesson Cesalien, junior Ricordo McKenzie and senior leader Carlton Sims, the squad made headlines all season long, but ultimately capped off the 2019 campaign with a bid to the Outdoor National Championships. 

For the first time in program history, CSU’s men’s track and field program will be represented at the national meet, thanks to Brown, Cesalien, Mckenzie and Sims breaking a school record, with a time of 39.87 seconds, in the 4x100-meter relay. With their time, the team finished in 11th place among the Regional, having needed a top-12 finish to advance on to the National Championships. 

“The West Regional is as tough as they come when trying to punch a ticket to the national meet,” said Head Coach Craig Collins. “So, I am just incredibly proud of this group having set the tone for our entire team all season.  Even though this is a first for our school, I believe that one of the keys to our success was believing that we belong here, and acting as if we have been at this level of competition before.  We are not intimidated by anyone, or any team. We believe if we do our job the best we can, the results will speak for themselves.” 

While clinching a berth to the national meet may be a first for the Cougars, breaking school records is certainly nothing new. Earlier this season, the relay team shattered a previous school record, of 39.98 seconds, which was set during the Western Athletic Conference’s Outdoor meet. While capturing a WAC title with the record, the Cougars also secured their spot to compete at the Regionals last weekend. 

“As for qualifying for the national meet, our approach will remain the same,” Collins noted. “I could not be more proud of the work that these young men have put into getting to the NCAA national meet. It is the hard work that drove us this far and it will be that hard work that defines us as we approach competition at the national stage. Whatever the outcome, I know that we have represented Chicago State, Chicago and other small Division I programs around the country well.”

Brown, Cesalien, McKenzie and Sims will now gear up for the National Championships, kicking off on June 5 in Austin, Texas.