CLEVELAND, OHIO -- Seven Mid-American Conference institutions will send individual members of the track and field teams to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, held June 11-14 on Drake University’s campus in Des Moines, Iowa.
Stevi Large became the Zips fourth NCAA Mideast Champion when she took the top spot in the hammer this past weekend with a distance of 202-9 (61.78). The feat was even more impressive considering the Mideast Region had an NCAA-best 34 people qualify for the event (with the next closest being 24 in the West) and having an NCAA-best 13 of the nation’s top 35 competing in the event. The four-time Mid-American Conference Female Field Performer of the Year (between indoor and outdoor seasons) won the MAC hammer and discus titles this spring, adding a third-place finish in the shot. Large set the UA record in the three throws events this spring, including a MAC record distance of 207-9 (63.33) in the hammer to rank 11th in the NCAA this season. This will be Large’s second appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Ball State ? Women
Amanda Barnhart has qualified for the 2008 NCAA Division I Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships as an at-large bid. Barnhart placed sixth at the 2008 Mideast Regional Championships with a leap of 20-9 3/4. She was named to the Mideast All-Region team for placing in the top eight of her event. Her best jump coming into the Mideast Regional came at the Mid-American Conference Championships when she took first place with a jump of 20-2 3/4.
Buffalo ? Women
Vanessa Roelofsen earned her second trip to the NCAA National Outdoor Track and Field Championships with her fourth-place finish in the javelin throw at the NCAA East Regionals at Florida State University. Roelofsen, who earned a trip to the 2006 National Championships, had a top throw of 163-1 (49.72m) to finish fourth overall in the event. The top five finishers in each event earn automatic bids to the National Championships, June 11-14, in Des Moines, IA. Roelofsen’s throw was seven inches off her top throw of the 2008 season (163-8, 49.88m) set on May 10 at Akron’s Campbell/Wright Open. Roelofsen finished 16th in the 2006 in Sacramento, CA.
Kent State ? Women
Sophomore Bekah Stoltz (Saugerties, N. Y./ ) finished fourth overall in the women’s javelin with her best toss of the season, 158’-11”. Junior LeVania Henderson (Westland, Michigan/Livonia Churchill) who placed fifth overall in the women’s shot put with her best throw of the season, 53’-7.75”.
Senior high jumper Kristina Bolterstein, the 2008 MAC indoor and outdoor champion, is competing in her second-straight outdoor high jump national championship. She earned her way into the field by winning a jump-off for fifth place at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.
Western Michigan - Women
The Broncos will be represented by Victoria Chatman, Danielle Brown, Becky Horn and Jennifer Sabra. For the fourth-straight year, and fifth time in six years, Western Michigan will be competing in the 4x400-meter relay. The relay team consisting of Chatman, Brown, Sabra and Horn took fourth place in a record-setting performance at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships on May 31. The team’s time of 3:33.57 broke the WMU and Mid-American Conference record of 3:34.78 set by the Broncos in 2006.
Horn, a senior from Battle Creek, Mich., will run in the 800-meter run. She finished in third place at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships with a time of 2:04.75. Horn took fifth place at the 2008 Indoor National Championships to earn All-American status for the second-straight year at the indoor level. As the same with relay teams, no individual has ever made the finals at the NationalChampionships.
Brown, a junior from Kalamazoo, Mich., had a record-setting weekend at regionals. During the preliminaries of the 400-meter hurdles she broke the 10-year old school record with a time of 57.73. However, the record would last for less than 24 hours when Brown got a chance to run in the finals. She improved her previous school record with a time of 57.18 and finished in second place, the highest a WMU student-athlete has ever finished at the NCAA Regional Championships.
Akron ? Men
Auston Papay will be making his third appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships and fourth overall at nationals, earning All-American with an eighth-place finish at the 2008 NCAA Indoors in the shot put this past March. Papay, who placed third in the discus at the 2006 and ?07 regional, had a season-best throw of 184-4 (56.20) to place fourth this year. The senior, who still has one year of eligibility for the indoors only, placed 15th at last year’s NCAA Outdoor Championship in the discus and 24th in the shot. In 2006, he was 25th in the discus. The 2008 MAC runner-up in the discus ranks 21st in the NCAA this outdoor season in the event. Papay is the UA record-holder in the discus and shot put. At the 2007 MAC Outdoors, he threw 187-6 (57.15) in the discus and 60-8.75 (18.51) in the shot.
Cadeau Kelley placed fifth in the long jump at the NCAA regional for his automatic berth. The UA record-holder for the long and triple jumps currently has the third-best long jump in the NCAA with a leap of 26-2.25 (7.98) at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Classic (May 3). That weekend was a good one for NCAA long jumpers as five of the top six on the nation’s top 25 list each posted their season’s best jump May 2-3. Kelley was the 2008 MAC champion in both the long and triple jumps, earning the 2008 MAC Male Field Performer of the Year. The senior will be making his second trip to a national championship. Kelley qualified for the 2008 NCAA Indoors, placing 14th at nationals with a leap of 24-9.25.
Ryan Jones was one of nine men in the high jump to receive a coveted at-large invitation, giving the NCAA a field of 29 in the event. He entered the NCAA regional ranked among the NCAA top 20 and placed among the top 12 at the regional. At this year’s regional, he tied for 10th with a height of 6-9, the same height five individuals cleared that tied for fifth. This year, Jones cleared 7-0.50 (2.15) in a winning effort at the 2008 All-Ohio Championships and cleared 7-0.25 to finish runner-up at the 2008 MAC Championships, the same height as MAC Champion Shamel Smith (Kent State). This will be the first appearance at a national championship for Jones.
Eastern Michigan ? Men
Eastern Michigan's Eric Alejandro, the outdoor MAC Most Valuable Performer, will be competing in the 400-meter hurdles at the NCAA Championships. He is currently ranked 17th in the event, after qualifying for the national championship by finishing second at the 2008 Mideast Regional Championship. This is the second year in a row he has qualified for the NCAA Championship, finishing 19th in the same event one year ago.
Kent State ? Men
Senior Nick Ivancic (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor) punched his ticket for the NCAA Championships when he placed fifth in the men’s 400 meter hurdles with his fastest time of season, 51.23 seconds. Fellow senior Jaroslaw Zakrzewski (Gdansk, Poland) also qualified for the NCAA Championships when he finished seventh in the men’s hammer throw with a toss of 209’-1”.
Miami ? Men
Junior Pat Sovacool, the 2008 MAC outdoor 1,500 and 5,000 meter champion, will be competing in the national 5,000 meter championship after finishing fourth at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships. He is making his second national championship appearance, but his first in the 5,000 meters.
Junior Kevin Dwyer, the 2008 MAC decathlon champion, earned his way into the national championships field of 26 by scoring a personal best of 7,240 points at the season-opening Clemson Relays. He will compete in the championships, which take place on Wednesday and Thursday.
A total of 544 student-athletes per gender will compete in the championships. Student-athletes qualified for the championships through participation in one of four regional championship meets.
Drake athletic director Sandy Hatfield Clubb said 1,176 athletes, expected to represent 200 schools, will compete in the meet. Saturday's final session will be televised live on CBS between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Central time, while Friday's activities will be televised on CSTV.
This will mark the first time the NCAA Championships have been held in the Midwest since Bloomington, Ind., hosted the 1997 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.