JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn.—Carson-Newman indoor track and field head man David Needs is set to send three athletes to the George Mason Last Chance Meet on Sunday with hopes of solidifying their cases for indoor nationals.
"Honestly, like the meet says, it's a last chance meet. We have to go out there and give it our best performance," Freeman said. "We have to go out there and be focused to give it everything we have."
To qualify for indoor nationals, each athlete must be ranked in the top 16 in the event to get an automatic bit. Circumstances call for additional athletes to make the cut and sometimes up to 20 athletes per event make the trip to indoor nationals.
Snead will be competing in the men's 200m dash where he will look to improve upon his season-best mark of 21.73 seconds in the event at the Tiffin Dragon Invite on Feb 13. The junior is already an automatic qualifier in the men's 60m dash but will look break out of his current 30th position in the 200m.
Freeman provisionally qualified in both the men's triple jump and men's heptathlon during his senior campaign, but will primarily focus on the triple jump this weekend in Washington D.C. The multi-event specialist's best mark in the triple jump this season came at the ETSU Track & Field Invitational on Jan. 15 with a 14.37m jump and is currently ranked 48th in the nation.
The meet could potentially serve as Freeman's final collegiate contest of his career. The fifth-year senior used up all of his outdoor eligibility last spring after capturing the South Atlantic Conference Field Athlete of the Year honor and returned this winter for his final indoor season of action.
"This track program has been just a blessing to me. The support and wisdom Coach Needs has giving me over the years on and off the field can't really be measured," Freeman said. "With this possibly being my last meet, I'm excited and looking to go out with a bang. It's all been a great run."
Carson-Newman's only woman representative making the trip will be the junior triple jumper Mills. The Chattanooga, Tenn. native provisionally qualified for indoor nationals in the event following a leap of 11.86 meters at the Buccaneer Invitational on Feb. 5.
Mills is currently 15th in the nation in the event and will be looking to lock down her position to nationals in the event.
A few other Carson-Newman athletes that have provisionally qualified for indoor nationals will not be making the trip.
Though sophomores Tanner Stepp (Jefferson City, Tenn.) and Tori Gaul (Salisbury, N.C.) are not automatic qualifiers in the men's high jump and women's pole vault, the duo are virtual locks as both rank in the top-10 in Division II in their respected events.
The three Eagle athletes competition in this weekend's meet and the two aforementioned join three other C-N athletes who have provisionally qualified for indoor nationals on the season.
Hard work, combined with good performances from these athletes, have put Carson-Newman on the national radar this season as the men and women reached No. 26 and No. 51 in the nation this past week—the highest the two squads have been nationally ranked in program history.
"The players that we have this year work hard and have the capacity to learn and want to get better," Freeman said of this season. "I think that is something that is missed out on a lot. Sometimes, you can have great players, but if they don't have the right work ethic it can be hard to improve. We have all facets of that this year and that is why we have been successful."
To keep up with everything Carson-Newman track and field related, follow us on twitter at @CN_Track. A complete recap following Sunday's events can be found on cneagles.com at the conclusion of the meet.