After successfully impressing at the African Senior Track and Field Championships in Durban, Africa last month, junior Persis William-Mensah of the UC Irvine Women’s Track and Field team has been selected as one of the members to compete for Ghana’s 4×100-meter relay team in the upcoming Olympic games in Rio. William-Mensah joins 15 others to round out Ghana’s 16-member squad.
Last May, William-Mensah showed out for the ‘Eaters during the Big West Conference Championships where she anchored a 4×100 relay team–consisting of sophomore Taisyn Crutchfield, junior Megan George, sophomore Michelle Norman, and William-Mensah–that went on to capture UCI’s first league title in 24 years with a time of 44.51 seconds–the second fastest time in Conference Championship history.
Crutchfield, George, Norman, and William-Mensah would go on to the NCAA Preliminary Round held at Lawrence, Kansas where they placed 20th in 45.71 seconds. William-Mensah also ran the 100 meters where she finished with a time of 11.80.
The Estancia High School product has impressed with her short time thus far in UCI. During her freshman campaign, William-Mensah mounted a new school record in the 100 meters at the Steve Scott Invitational with a time of 11.72. She also finished among the best in the program with top marks her respective events, the 100 and 200 meters.
While William-Mensah is the only current UCI student athlete to compete at this year’s games, she is not the only familiar face.
UCI alumni and former NCAA champion Charles Jock (2009-2012) will join William-Mensah out on the fields where he will compete for the U.S. in the 800 meters. Jock qualified for the team after placing third in the respective event at the U.S. Olympic trials.
In Men’s Volleyball, UCI will have representation in former student athletes David Smith (2004-2007) and Kevin Tillie (2011-2013). Smith will represent the U.S. while Tillie is set to play for France, which makes their first return to the Olympic games in 20 years.
Current UCI Women’s Water Polo head coach and former student athlete Dan Klatt will also be in Rio to serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s Polo team.
For Men’s Swimming, UCI alumni Dave Durden (1998 graduate), who has currently been serving as the head coach for the Men’s swimming team at Cal, was selected as an assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s swimming team.
The ‘Eaters will also have representation in Badminton through UCI alumna Eva Lee (2008) and sophomore Phillip Chew, a current UCI student majoring in Business Econ.