Four Big West Athletes Qualify For NCAA Track & Field Championships
Links associated with this release:
NCAA Division I Track and Field West Preliminary Round Central
Saturday Schedule of Events
Saturday Heat Sheets
Big West Participants List
Amidst inclement weather, several delays and schedule adjustments to the West Preliminary at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kansas, four Big West athletes overcame the adversity to qualify for next month's NCAA Track and Field Championships.
Long Beach State junior Robert Marlow and senior Fatima Vergara advanced to the finals in the men's hammer and women's hammer, respectively, when the nationals are held at the University of Oregon June 8-11. UC Santa Barbara senior Jessica Emde also qualified for the NCAA meet in the women's high jump, as did another senior in Erika Barr of UC Davis in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase.
After Thursday's competition was postponed due to weather, events were moved up several hours to fit into a revised schedule. More rain and lightning in the area greeted the competitors on Friday as well, forcing additional delays and a revised format, in which some events that called for two rounds were condensed into one.
Marlow and Vergara were unaffected, as both finished in the top-12 of their respective events to punch their tickets to Eugene for nationals. Marlow's second throw traveled 207 feet, 3 inches, which stood as the 10th-best mark in the competition.
Vergara broke a seven-year old program record with a lifetime-best toss of 199-08. Following a long weather delay, her mark ended up 12th overall and moved her on to nationals. She is the first 49er in the Andy Sythe era (since 1990) to qualify for the NCAA's in the hammer.
Emde's event, the high jump, was moved indoors to accommodate the weather issues, and started six and a half hours earlier than scheduled. Undeterred, Emde cleared 5-09.25 on her first attempt, putting her in a tie for eighth and earning her a trip to Eugene.
Barr posted her second-fastest time this season in the steeplechase, finishing in 10 minutes, 12.41 seconds to claim 10th place overall. The top three finishers in each heat automatically advanced, followed by the next three overall fastest time. Barr came in fifth in her heat, but had the second-fastest time of the remaining runners in the event. She just missed her career-best time of 10:08.63 set earlier this year at the Stanford Invitational.
Long Beach State came close to qualifying two more individuals for nationals. Senior Ryan Colebrook posted the fastest time of his career in the 400-meter hurdles, 51.62, which gave him the 12th-fastest time overall. However, an automatic qualifier who won his heat in 51.81 seconds took the final spot to nationals.
Junior James Hubbard nearly joined teammate Marlow on a journey to the Pacific Northwest, but his top toss of 204-08 in the hammer left him just two inches short.
A jam packed schedule Saturday features several more Big West competitiors seeking to advance to nationals. The women's discus, which was halted midway through the competition due to weather, resumes action at 9 a.m. (CT). The men's discus and men's triple jump also will be contested at 9 a.m. On the track, the first event begins at 10:00 a.m. (CT) with the women's 4x100 relay.