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Lehman Freshman Competing in NCAA Championships

May 25, 2011


Tobi Alli

The best of the best.

That's the company Lehman freshman Tobi Alli will keep this Thursday and Friday, as she competes in the 100-meter dash in the NCAA Division III 2011 Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Ohio Wesleyan University.

The CUNYAC Women's Rookie of the Year is the conference's only female athlete making the trip and is the first Lehman freshman to qualify for nationals since Lauren Lourick competed in the triple jump at the 2008 NCAA Championships held at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Alli's CUNY-leading time of 12.32 seconds—more than 0.3 seconds better than the next closest conference challenger (Kemilla John, York, 12.55 seconds)—equates to the twenty-second fastest time in the field of twenty-four competing runners.

Headlining this year's sprint pack is the duo of Ruby Blackwell and Ashlynn Chavis, both from Methodist University in North Carolina, whose top qualifying times clocked in at 11.66 and 11.67 seconds respectively. All together, eight runners posted qualifying times of 12.00 seconds or better, which is one of the fastest fields of competitors seen in quite a while by Lehman head coach Lesleigh Hogg. That's not deterring Ali, however.

"Past freshman have been happy to just be there," said Hogg. "Then they work to surpass that in the coming years. But I get the sense from Tobi that she's not satisfied just being there despite the formidable competition. She wants to go and do well."

That Alli is on her way to Ohio is quite an accomplishment by itself, considering both her freshman standing and the fact that she joined the team midway through the indoor season, missing out on valuable fall training. In only a short period of time, however, she proved to be arguably CUNY's top female sprinter and one of its top overall female athletes, as she earned a combined five individual gold medals at the conference's indoor and outdoor championships.

"To have progressed in the short amount of time that she did, while missing a significant portion of preseason training, that is quite an accomplishment, especially for a freshman," noted Hogg. "She has a lot of untapped ability and much that she can improve upon. She's certainly setting the table for more to come in the future."

CUNY Athletic Conference, you've been warned.

— Andrew Pearson, Sports Information Director