ECU T&F celebrates AAC Championships, prepares for NCAA East Prelims

Published: May. 21, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT|Updated: May. 22, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Following some success at the AAC Outdoor Championships last week in Tampa, the ECU track and field team will be sending six student-athletes back to the Sunshine State for the NCAA East Preliminary competition May 27-29 in Jacksonville.

“Excited is probably the word, Tyler, that sums it all up,” ECU Director of Track and Field Curt Kraft told WITN Sports at practice late Friday morning.

Individually, the Pirates had several record-setting performances at last week’s AAC Outdoor Championships.

“Any time you get to this point in the season with your student-athletes, you’ve achieved at a high level,” Kraft added.

Fayetteville-native Ryan Davis set new personal records in both the hammer throw (70.77m) and discus (56.95m), placing first in both events.

“It’s always great to be able to do well, but it’s even better to have people that support you there when you do well,” said Davis. “So, shoutout to my teammates for the support that they gave me.”

Junior Sommer Knight claimed her first conference title by setting a new personal record in the pole vault (4.28m).

“It was awesome,” said Knight. “It didn’t sink in until a couple hours later that I had actually done it and won. I think I was in shock for awhile. It was really awesome for it to happen then and all my family got to be there, so it was just a really good experience.”

Kinston native and former WITN Pepsi Player of the Week, Niejel Wilkins, placed fourth in the triple jump (15.70m).

“I’m thrilled for what I did accomplish, but I’m not exactly satisfied,” Wilkins said.

All three plus three more teammates will be competing in next week’s prelims.

“These are local kids, North Carolina kids, that are going to this meet, and there’s nothing more exciting than enjoying that local person with a lot of pride,” Kraft said.

Kinston’s Niejel Wilkins finds success at ECU

One of those six Pirates representing ECU at the NCAA East Prelims will be Kinston native and former WITN Pepsi Player of the Week, Niejel Wilkins. Funny enough, two years ago Friday, we actually featured Wilkins as our WITN Pepsi Player of the Week1


Now, the former Viking is getting set for those East Qualifiers next weekend in Jacksonville, Florida. He placed fourth in the triple jump at the AAC Outdoor Championships last weekend in Tampa.

Wilkins told WITN Sports he takes great pride in representing his hometown of Kinston, N.C.

“First and foremost, I wouldn’t be here without my family. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have my faith in God and all that good stuff,” said Wilkins. “And, I look forward to the pride I can bring back to Kinston after this weekend, after many more weekends, after many more years.”

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