ALL-AMERICA HONORS COME SPRUIELâ€™S WAY AGAIN
Smith also earns All-America honors
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK.,Â â€“ During the 2009 MEAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships last month, someone with senior Alexandria Spruielâ€™s accomplishments in track and field still found something that even she saw as remarkable.
Spruiel thought it was great to see how the North Carolina A&T track and field alumni still garnered pride in all of their accomplishments as they pointed and remarked at the pictures on the wall inside the track and field office. She also noted the pride they had in the program and the current members of the program. It inspired her.
Well, someday in the future she will be able to offer that same inspiration to an Aggie athlete. Underneath Spruielâ€™s 18×24 framed photo will be the caption that she was the first female N.C. A&T track and field athlete to earn All-American status in indoor track and field. After Saturdayâ€™s 2009 NCAA Division I Championship Meet at the University of Arkansas, it will also read that Spruiel is the first Aggie athlete in school history to earn indoor and outdoor All-American honors in the same year.
Spruiel finished sixth in the womenâ€™s 400 meter finals with a school-record time of 51.59 to earn her place in N.C. A&T history. Saturday marked the third time she has broken the 400 meter record this season.
Teammate and fellow senior Loreal Smith added to the historic event. Smith also earned All-American status by finishing seventh in the womenâ€™s 100 meter hurdles with a time of 13.43. The two All-American finishes marked the first time in school history two Aggies running in individual events became All-Americans in the same race.
They are also the first two females to become outdoor All-Americans in school history. They join jumpers Brandon Via, Everett Bruce and sprinters Timothy Walls, Sean White, Titus Haywood, Gerald Wright and Theo Wilds as All-Americans.
â€œIâ€™m elated,â€™â€™ said Roy Thompson, N.C. A&Tâ€™s director of track and field programs. â€œThese are monumental accomplishments. The performances Alex and Loreal have been able to render throughout their careers have been tremendous, and they have put our program on another level.â€
Thompson, who is in his 28th season as the leader of the Aggies track and program, went on to say that Spruiel and Smithâ€™s careers rank among the top five careers he has witnessed over the last 20 years of Aggies track and field â€“ men and women.
â€œAlex and Loreal have given the program more exposure and an opportunity to bring in more quality athletes,â€™â€™ said assistant coach James Daniels, who is tasked with coaching sprinters and the hurdlers. â€œThey didnâ€™t try to go it alone. They worked within the system we set out for them to maximize their talents and abilities.â€
The next step for Spruiel and Smith will be the U.S. Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 25-28. They will join Aggie sprinter Calesio Newman and Aggie jumpers Tarrish Alexander and David McFadgen at the event. Qualifying five athletes for the U.S. Championships is another school record.
It is also another accomplishment Spruiel can add to the caption underneath that historic photo.