Thirteen Individuals Advance to NCAA Championships
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NCAA Division I Track and Field West Regional Results
Cal Poly’s John Prader was the final Big West individual to punch his ticket to the NCAA Track and Field Finals after qualifying in the NCAA West Preliminary Round on Saturday at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. Prader matched his career-best mark in the men’s pole vault, clearing 17-feet, 6.5 inches.
The Big West was represented by all eight participating schools at the preliminaries and after three full days of competition advanced 11 athletes from six Big West institutions to the NCAA Championships. Those 11 join UC Santa Barbara's Big West multi-event champs Barbara Nwaba and Derek Masterson, who had already qualified for the national finals in heptathlon and decathlon, respectively. The 13 Big West student-athletes will make their way to Des Moines, Iowa for the NCAA Championships June 6-9.
UC Riverside advanced three individuals to the NCAAs, all in field events: Travis Smith in the men’s shot put, Caleb Stuart in the hammer throw, and Ryan Swafford in the men’s triple jump. It will be the first time in the program's Division I history that a trio of Highlander athletes will head to the NCAA Championships.
Three conference teams will be advancing two individuals, with Cal Poly’s Prader joining teammate Whitney Sisler, who qualified for the NCAA championships in the women’s high jump when she cleared 5-10.75, matching her season best.
Long Beach State’s Ben Woodruff, the Big West Field Athlete of the Year, earned his trip to Des Moines on the first day of the meet in the men’s javelin with a mark of 232-04. Woodruff will be traveling with teammate Katrina Graves-Johnson, who advanced in the women's high jump in a jump-off for the final spot.
Big West women’s team champion UC Davis also sends a pair of athletes to Des Moines, including Big West discus champion Ashley Hearn, who placed fifth in the prelims with a throw of 177-07, and Big West Track Athlete of the Year Sarah Sumpter, who qualified on the first day of contest in the 10,000-meter run.
The popular 800-meter duo of UC Irvine’s Charles Jock and UC Santa Barbara’s Ryan Martin advanced at the preliminaries with top-five finishes. They bring high hopes to the NCAA Championships along with the top two collegiate times in the country this year: 1:44.75 (Jock) and 1:44.77 (Martin), both accomplished at the Big West Championships.