Tomorrow, the women of the NCAA will begin competition at the championship meet which will take place through June 10th in Austin, Texas. Here is a look at three athletes we have covered over the years, who have endured for a chance to win NCAA gold.
Darci Khan - Howard
On May 27th, Darci Khan qualified for her first NCAA outdoor championship meet. The junior at Howard ran the 10th fastest time of 12.96 on the second day at the East First Round in Jacksonville, Florida, making her one of 12 qualifiers to advance. Khan has had a dream season in her first year at Howard after competing at Kentucky from 2019-2022. During indoor season Khan won MEAC championships in the 60 meters and 60-meter hurdles. She furthered that with outdoor conference gold medals in the 400-meter relay and 100-meter hurdles. Khan also snagged a silver medal in the 100 meters.
During the preliminaries of the East First Round, Khan ran a career best 12.92 before clocking in at the aforementioned time of 12.96 two days later. Those were her first sub-13-second finishes of her collegiate career.
Paula Salmon - North Carolina A&T
After head coach Duane Ross left the powerhouse that he built at North Carolina A&T to lead Tennessee, some athletes chose to exit as well. Paula Salmon definitely would've been desired talent for top programs around the nation, but the Brooklyn, New York native chose to stay at the HBCU. Behind Salmon's All-American talents, North Carolina A&T continues to stand prominent as she returns to the NCAA Championships.
As her program has had a coaching change, it has also been in three different conferences over the past three seasons. A long-time member of the MEAC, North Carolina A&T moved to the Big South last season where Salmon won 60-meter hurdles and 100-meter hurdles championships during indoor and outdoor seasons respectively. This year Salmon rolled to the 100-meters hurdles gold at the CAA championship meet. This season marks her third-straight time at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. After being eliminated in the preliminary round in 2021, Salmon just missed getting a medal last season placing fourth in the final.
Salmon qualified for this season's NCAA meet at 12.79 which was the fifth best 100-meter hurdles time on the final day of the East First Round.
Faith Banks - Florida State
All-American sprinter Faith Banks is a bit of comeback story. In her first year at Florida State, Banks returns to the NCAA Championships as a member of the 400-meter relay. She and her teammates Alexandra Webster, Dajaz Defrand and Kaniya Johnson recorded a top three finish (44.34) in heat one at the East First Round, May 27.
Back in 2019, Banks qualified for and competed in the NCAA Championships 400-meter relay preliminary round during her freshman season at Cincinnati. Last season she was poised for a return to the NCAA Championships as either a member of the 400-meter relay or open 400 meters but Banks' body turned against her as she suffered injuries at the American Athletic Outdoor Championship meet.
This year at Florida State, Banks ended her indoor season with a silver medal in the 400 meters at the ACC Championships. At the outdoor meet, the sprinter from Macedonia, Ohio earned another silver medal with her 400-meter relay squad. Banks will compete in the 400-meter relay semifinal round at the NCAA Championships tomorrow night.
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