GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Two track & field athletes are set to compete for East Carolina Athletics on the national stage.
“It just means a lot to me to wear ECU across my chest and show the NCAA that you don’t have to be a power five school to be a powerhouse,” said Sommer Knight, East Carolina pole vaulter.
Knight is writing history as the first Pirate to ever compete in nationals for pole vaulting. On June 10, she will put her hard work to the test in Eugene, Oregon, the site of the 2021 NCAA Championships.
“Sommer continues to improve year after year. She secured her spot in nationals this past weekend in a jump-off,” said Jon Gilbert, East Carolina Athletic Director. “I think she’s a gamer. We are extremely proud of her.”
The junior won a jump-off in the pole vault Thursday, May 27 to secure the 12th and final spot in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, competing in the NCAA East Preliminary at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida.
Knight fashioned a clearance of 4.17 meters on her first attempt before just missing on three tries at 4.27 meters. She won the American Athletic Conference title a couple of weeks ago in Tampa by recording a school-record mark of 4.28 meters.
Teammate Ryan Davis, a senior, will also represent the Pirates.
Davis excels in both the discus and the hammer. Last year he qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships with the discus, only to see it swept away by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I still feel like there was something missing from that indoor season, but you know, you kind of take the punches and roll with them,” said Ryan Davis, East Carolina thrower. “I transferred that energy and all of that focus into the weight throw and the hammer and that’s where a lot of the success has been from this season and focus.”
Down to his third and final attempt in the hammer at the NCAA East Preliminary Wednesday, May 26, Davis recorded a mark of 65.70 meters to finish in 10th place and secure a spot at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
He is the first member of the program to book his trip to the national meet since both Stefano Migliorati (800m) and Galissia Cause (shot put) participated in 2018.
Davis entered the regional competition ranked fourth in the east after winning the AAC title with a school-record mark of 70.77 meters. He also won the discus at the league championships.
“Ryan has continued to break records during his time here at ECU. I think he’ll tell you that he’s grown a lot as a person on and off the track,” added Gilbert. “He really is considered one of the top throwers in the country.”
The Pirate duo was recognized by the ACC as two of the Most Outstanding Performances of the year for the Outdoor Track & Field season. The awards are presented to the athlete in each category (track/field) with the conference’s top ranked time or mark on the NCAA Performance List during competition at the AAC Outdoor Championships.
Davis set the conference and school record in the hammer in Tampa, winning the league title with a mark of 70.77 meters.
Knight put up a school-record mark of 4.28 meters in the pole vault to capture the conference title. She slots eighth in the region entering the NCAA preliminary competition.
Now, the two are hoping to bring home one more honor from Nationals.