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Jeff Nations

Cavs' Smith among NCAA regional qualifiers

Former Handley standout and University of Virginia senior All-American Ayla Smith is among 24 Cavaliers who have qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Round on May 26-28 at Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex in Bloomington, Ind.

Smith will compete in the 400-meter hurdles and is seeded seventh in the event. The top 12 competitors advance to join the top-12 finishers from the NCAA West Preliminary Round to form the field of 24 that will compete at the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships (June 8-11) in Des Moines, Iowa.

On Sunday in Princeton, N.J., Smith claimed her second ECAC title in the 400 hurdles with a personal-best time of 57.42 seconds. That ranked third-best all-time at Virginia and 14th in the NCAA this year.

Smith, who earned her All-American accolade during the indoor season as a member of the Cavaliers' distance medley relay team, added another indoor honor recently when she was named to the 2011 All-ACC Academic Indoor Track and Field team. Smith was the only Virginia athlete named to the women's team.

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