NCAA Track and Field Championships Preview

Updated 6/6/2012
Courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments

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Akron: Hubbard To Compete At NCAA Track and Field Championships Friday
AKRON, Ohio –
School-record holder Eric Hubbard will represent The University of Akron at the NCAA Track and Field Championships Friday at Jim Duncan Track on the campus of Drake University.

Hubbard, a senior from Medina, Ohio, will compete in the hammer throw at 3 p.m. (ET). Live video streaming for the entire weekend will be available on ESPN3.com.

Hubbard broke an eight-year school record in the hammer throw in the final meet of the regular season with a toss of 205-04 to surpass the previous standard of 203-10 set by Greg Corbitt in 2004. His milestone didn't last long however, as he went on to better that mark three more times in the next two meets; the last coming with a throw of 207-04 at the NCAA Preliminary Round in Jacksonville, Fla.

Hubbard was the 2012 Mid-American Conference Indoor Champion in the weight throw and the runner-up in the hammer at the MAC Outdoor Championships despite a record-breaking performance.


Buffalo: Golabek And Henry Prep For NCAA Track & Field Championships
BUFFALO, NY - The 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships get underway on Wednesday and two members of the University at Buffalo Track and Field team will be in action.  Senior thrower Rob Golabek and junior sprinter Asia Henry head to Drake University in Des Moines, IA with All-American aspirations on their mind.

Henry will be competing in the 800 meters, just UB's second track athlete to reach Nationals, joining Allison Laske, who ran the 800 meters back in 2004. Henry finished second in her heat and fourth overall among the 27 quarterfinalists in the 800-meters at the East Region Preliminary Round two weeks ago. She turned in a finish of 2:04.99, using a strong finishing kick to move into the second slot as the top three finishers in each heat automatically advance to Nationals. Henry's time was less than two-tenths of a second off the UB record set by Laske in 2004 (2:04.81).

Henry will run in the National Semifinals on Wednesday at 6:30 pm central time, hoping to make it to Friday's National Final.  She will race in the first of three heats with the top two from each heat and the next two highest finishers reaching the final.  Henry's mark of 2:04.99 is the second best in her heat and she is one of just six in the competition to run a sub-2:05 in the 800 meter race.

Combining the indoor and outdoor seasons, Golabek heads to his fourth consecutive National Championship, having already been named an All-American three times in the shot put.  Golabek, who won the Mid-American Conference Championship back in May, turned in a top throw of 63-2.75 (19.27m) on his fifth of six attempts and finished fifth in the competition.  Golabek set the school record in the shot put earlier this year with a top throw of 63-3.50 (19.29m).

Golabek will have a lot of time to work out and support Henry in her races as the men's shot put does not get underway until the final day of competition on Saturday at 10am central time.  Golabek is in the second of two flights, each consisting of 12 throwers.  It is a strong field, with 14 student-athletes having throw more than 19.00m, including Golabek.  The top three in the competition are Hayden Baillio of Texas, Stephen Saenz of Auburn and Penn State's Joe Kovacs, who have each thrown over 19.90m.


Central Michigan: McCullough and Kulidzan Set to Compete at NCAA Nationals
MOUNT PLEASANT – Senior Ryan McCullough and freshman Milica Kulidzan are set to represent Central Michigan track and field at the highest level this week at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, beginning Wednesday.

The meet, hosted by Drake University at Drake Stadium, will begin Wednesday and conclude on Saturday. Live results will be available all week and streaming video will be available on NCAA.com on Wednesday and on ESPN3.com Thursday through Saturday. Saturday's events will be carried on ESPNU from noon to 2 p.m.

Kulidzan will begin competition in the javelin Wednesday at 3:40 p.m. EST. She will get three throws in the first flight of two. The nine throwers who record the best marks between both heats will advance to a three-throw final.

Kulidzan, ranked 18th overall with a school-record mark of 154-10, will be the second-ranked of four Mid-American Conference women javelin throwers competing on Wednesday. Victoria Paterra of Miami (OH) is ranked just one spot higher at 155-03.75.

McCullough will compete in the hammer throw Friday at 3 p.m. EST. He will take three throws in the second flight of two. Like the javelin, the nine throwers with the best marks between both heats will advance to a three-throw final.

McCullough is ranked 16th in the 23-thrower field with a mark of 207-03, and is ranked second among MAC student-athletes in the event. McCullough, who became the MAC Champion in the hammer throw on May 11, will look to reclaim the top MAC ranking from 14th-ranked Eric Hubbard of Akron, who recorded a mark of 207-04.75 at the East Prelims two weeks ago. McCullough has thrown as far as 210-07 this season, which earned him MAC Champion and MAC Outstanding Field Performer honors and a school record at the MAC Championships.

With Kulidzan and McCullough the Chippewas are well-represented at the NCAA Championships. Central Michigan is one of just three MAC institutions to send both a male and a female student-athlete to the meet, and is one of just five to send multiple competitors, regardless of gender. 

Milica Kulidzan Notes: Kulidzan will attempt to become CMU's second All-American in the women's javelin, joining Karen Wilkinson in 1991 … Kulidzan is the first CMU women's student-athlete to qualify for the outdoor national championships since sprinter Najah Floyd and jumper Jackie Smart did so in 2007 … She becomes the first student-athlete from the women's team to qualify for either the indoor or outdoor championships since high jumper Erika Schroll in 2010 at the indoor championships.

Ryan McCullough Notes: McCullough is building on a growing tradition of CMU men's throwers. Dating back to the 2009 outdoor season and including the indoor championships, a total of seven men's throwers have qualified for six of the seven national championships with three All-American honors … McCullough will attempt to become the first men's hammer throw All-American in school history … He will attempt to become the first MAC Outstanding Performer/All-American at CMU since Jeff Powers in 2007, and the third overall (Bruno Pauletto in 1978).


Eastern Michigan Women: Asia Rawls to Compete at NCAA Championships in Des Moines
YPSILANTI, Mich. -
The Eastern Michigan University women's track and field team is sending Asia Rawls, a junior hurdler, to the NCAA Championships, June 6-9, hosted by Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Rawls, a junior from Waterford, Mich. will be competing in the 400-meter hurdles after qualifying for the nationals with a time of 58.50 Friday, May 25, at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. The semifinal round of the  400-meter hurdles is slated for 8:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.

The NCAA Championships run all day, June 6-9. The first event scheduled is the men's discus, June 6, at 2:30 p.m. while the final event of the weekend is the women's 4x400-meter relay set for 12:50 p.m. Saturday afternoon, June 9.


Eastern Michigan Men: Eagles Send a Pair to NCAA Championships
YPSILANTI, Mich. -
The Eastern Michigan University men's track and field team is sending Terefe Ejigu, a junior distance runner,  and Donald Scott, a sophomore triple jumper, to the NCAA Championships, June 6-9, hosted by Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Ejigu, a junior from Wellington, New Zeeland will be competing in the 5,000-meter run after qualifying for the nationals with a time of 14:01.88 Saturday, May 26, at the NCAA East Preliminary Round. Ejigu's finish was the third-best qualifying time as he is set to run in the 5,000-meter finals Friday, June 8, at 7:10 p.m.

Scott, a sophomore from Apopka, Fla. will compete in the triple jump after leaping 51-feet and 8.25-inches at the NCAA East Preliminary Round Friday, May 25. Scott's leap is the sixth-best seed in the field at the NCAA Championships and he will compete in the triple jump Friday, June 8, at 4:30 p.m.

The NCAA Championships run all day, June 6-9. The first event scheduled is the men's discus, June 6, at 2:30 p.m. while the final event of the weekend is the women's 4x400-meter relay set for 12:50 p.m. Saturday afternoon, June 9.


Kent State: Kent State Quartet Heads to NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships
KENT, Ohio – Four student-athletes from the Kent State women's track and field team will represent the Golden Flashes this week on the national stage, as the quartet will compete in the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa.
 
Representing Kent State are graduate Penina Acayo (women's triple jump), sophomore C.J. Carlisle (women's javelin), freshman Jacklyn Leppelmeier (women's hammer throw) and junior Sara Oczypok (women's javelin).
 
Each field consists of 24 competitors, comprised of 12 qualifiers from both the East and West Prelims. Click here for the start lists for the national championships.
 
Carlisle and Oczypok will start the Golden Flashes off on Wednesday, June 6 with the women's javelin starting at 2:40 p.m. CT. Thursday, June 7 will bring Leppelmeier to the stage for women's hammer at 3 p.m. ET, and Acayo will wrap up the team's effort Saturday, June 9 at 10 a.m. for the triple jump.


Miami: Paterra Looks to Improve on Last Year's Showing at NCAA Championships
OXFORD, Ohio - Making the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships as a freshman is no small feat. But for Miami University sophomore javelin thrower Tori Paterra, that was only the beginning of what she hopes will be a very illustrious RedHawk career after qualifying for the NCAA Championships again this year.

Paterra, a native of Elizabeth, Pa., will compete in the javelin at the National Championships Wednesday, June 6 at 3:40 p.m. ET (2:40 p.m. local) at Drake University's Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. Last year's NCAA Championships were at Drake Stadium as well but this year, Paterra is the lone RedHawk representative at the meet.

"It's really exciting to be able to go back and get that experience again. To come in as a freshman and go there, I was in awe, so I didn't compete my best. Now I'm excited to go back and know the competition, know the surroundings and see what I can do," Paterra said.

In addition to last year's trip to Des Moines, Paterra made another trip to Drake Stadium this year as she took part in the famed Drake Relays April 28, when she finished 11th in the javelin going against some of the same competition she'll see Wednesday. She now knows what to expect at the NCAA meet this time around.

"I've competed against these girls a couple of times now," Paterra explained. "This will be my third trip to Drake and I know the runway, I know what it looks like and how I've thrown there so hopefully that will help me with my nerves. But I like to be a little bit nervous before I compete just so I know that there's something there."

Paterra clinched a spot at the 2012 NCAA Championships by finishing fifth at the NCAA East Preliminary Rounds May 24 in Jacksonville, Fla. She fired a throw of 47.34m/155-3, which is the ninth-best throw in school history, all of which she owns. She was seeded 10th entering the East Prelims after a season-best throw of 48.46m/159-0, which is the fifth-best throw of her career, at the All-Ohio Championships April 20 but improved on her seed in the prelims. The top 12 finishers in the field of 48 from both the East and West Prelims advanced to the NCAA Championships for a final field of 24.

At last year's NCAA meet, Paterra placed 20th with a heave of 44.53m/146-1, earning her Honorable Mention All-America. She enters this year's championships seeded 17th out of the 24 and is the second-highest seeded sophomore in the field. DePaul's Melissa Fraser holds the top seed overall with a mark of 52.96m/173-9. The top eight finishers earn First-Team All-American while the next eight are tabbed Second-Team All-American.

"I definitely want to place better than I did last year, that's always a goal. I really want to be an All-American considering my goal in general was to win MACs [MAC Championships] every year I was here and then be a three-time All-American, so hopefully I can do that this year," Paterra said.

While her goal of being a three-time All-American is certainly still attainable, Paterra fell a bit short of winning a Mid-American Conference title this year, after capturing the MAC javelin crown as a freshman last year. She finished third in the javelin at the MAC meet May 10 after a toss of 45.07m/147-10. Kent State's Sara Oczypok won the title while Central Michigan's Milica Kulidzan nabbed second.

"At MACs, I had a really good throw but I fouled on it, so I was like `I know it's there,'" Paterra explained. "I was just thinking `we're going to get it at regionals, we're going to go to nationals and that's what's going to happen. We're not going to win MACs, we're going to be an All-American this year,' so that's kind of what my mentality has been since MACs even though it was a bit of a disappointment."

So far, Paterra has been right on her train of thought, rebounding well from the MAC Championships at the regional meet. She will even have a chance to exact some revenge on her MAC counterparts this year as three of the other four MAC javelin throwers who qualified for the East Prelims finished in the top 12 to join her in Des Moines. Paterra had the top throw of the five MAC javelin throwers at the East Prelims but Kulidzan was right behind in sixth while Oczypok and her teammate from Kent State, Cheryl Carlisle, took 10th and 11th, respectively.

"I think it's awesome," Paterra said of so many MAC qualifiers in the javelin. "The girl from Kent (Oczypok), we competed against each other in high school. We were from rival high schools. We've been through a lot together. We've always beaten each other and she got me this year at MACs. It's exciting because you know more people and you can talk to more people. Even though we're competition, at the same time, we're friends so it's good for the MAC."

Although Paterra may be amicable with her fellow MAC throwers, they can't be happy she still has two years left in her Miami career. That's two more years she will contend for a MAC title and two more years to possibly earn All-America status. It's also two more years she has to break her own school record of 49.91m/163-9, which she set in her very first outdoor meet as a RedHawk at Vanderbilt March 26, 2011. Throughout the rest of her rookie season, she posted six more marks that rank in Miami's all-time top-10 throws and added three this year to own the entire top-10 list under the new javelin specifications (post 1998).

"I didn't think I could rewrite the whole thing that fast. I didn't even think about that when I was throwing until I read an article the other day that said they were all owned by [me] and I was like `that's crazy,'" Paterra admitted. "It just gives me more of a drive to keep getting my numbers up there and making it harder for other people (to reach)."

Setting a school record in her first outdoor meet, however, would not have been possible if not for her father, Greg, who had brief stints in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills from 1989-1991.

"My father is my hero. He taught me everything I know about competing and being an athlete. He's always pushed me to be the best that I can," Paterra said enthusiastically. "He just learned how to text, so before every competition and meet he sends me a three or four page text message about a pump-up speech and it gets me going."

Paterra can always count on her father to keep her focused and motivated, as well, even in the offseason.

"He always tells me to never stop training. That always sticks in my mind. He's big on praying and to look up to God too. That's definitely a big thing that he's always telling me," Paterra shared. "He says if I stop training than everyone else is getting better. He's that person that's like `you better get to the gym' and I don't always feel like going but he gets me there. It's fun in the summer working out with him because he says `you need to do this and this and this.' It's always a hard work out but I get through it and I'm a better athlete for it."

Although she cherishes the time with her dad, Paterra's not quite ready to trade in her throws coach at Miami, Stacey Wannemacher.

"Stacey can be pretty tough but if my dad was my full-time coach I'd probably rip my hair out," Paterra joked.

With Paterra, who left Monday for Des Moines, the only Miami athlete left competing this year in any sport, she's needed her dad and Wannemacher to keep her training hard leading up to the NCAA meet. Last year, she had company during her June practices as Miami's Rachel Patterson competed in the 5000m run at the NCAA Championships but Patterson graduated in 2011 and no other `Hawks qualified for this year's meet.

"Sometimes it's hard because you're the only one," Paterra said of training last week. "It's nice too but I hope next year we get more girls in (to nationals). I know our team is good and we can accomplish a lot so hopefully I'll have some companions there next year."

Along with receiving text messages from her dad, Paterra usually listens to music and will even dance sometimes prior to a meet to keep her mind off of the javelin and the competition, something she says can really mess her up.

"Anything that can calm me down, usually I'll say a prayer or anything like that so I'm not thinking about javelin but something else," she said of her pre-meet routine. "When I think about everything that involves javelin I just go crazy and it's not a good day."

Paterra may not want to think about the javelin on Wednesday, but she knows in her head what she needs to do to reach her goal of being an All-American and improving on her 20th-place finish from last year.

"My best ever is 163-9 so I feel if I can hit that or even a little higher like 165 to 170 (feet), I should definitely be in the top eight. If I can just throw 155 to 160 I should at least improve," she rationalized. "There's been a lot more competition this year, especially in the West, but just in general a lot of freshmen have come up and shown themselves. If I can hit 155 to 170 I should be in a good standing, but we'll see."


Toledo: Emma Kertesz Geared Up for 10K at NCAA Championship Meet
TOLEDO, OH - University of Toledo distance runner Emma Kertesz (Toledo, OH/Central Catholic) is glad to be competing in the NCAA championships. But she doesn't want to settle for just a happy-to-be-there performance.

Kertesz, a junior, is representing UT in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa this Thursday. The race is scheduled to commence at 8:45 p.m. (9:45 p.m. ET). Kertesz has run twice at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, but this is her first championship appearance in track & field.

"Although I'm happy to be there, I'm a gamer so I'm going to be competing for a top spot," said Kertesz, who was the indoor and outdoor MAC Championship Meet MVP this season. "I think I'm ready to roll."

Kertesz earned her spot at nationals by finishing in 10th place in the 10K at the NCAA East Preliminary Championship Meet  in Jacksonville, FL on May 24. Head coach Kevin Hadsell said that Kertesz has the potential to finish even higher than that on Thursday. The top eight finishers earn first-team All-America honors.

"From a preparation standpoint, Emma is at exactly the right spot for her talent level," said Hadsell, who choose to rest Kertesz for two days following the NCAA Regional Meet. "She looks great, light and bouncy -- all the things you need to feel like when you are heading into a big race."


Western Michigan: 4x400 Squad and Campbell Set for NCAA Outdoor Championships
KALAMAZOO - Western Michigan track and field's Iris Campbell, Victoria Chatman, Andrea Arnold and Leya Munwam head to Drake University to represent WMU at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships beginning on Wednesday.

Campbell is the lone Bronco to compete individually, as the junior competes in the semi finals of the 400 meter hurdles on Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. EDT. Campbell qualified after finishing in ninth place in the NCAA East Preliminary Quarterfinals two weeks ago in Jacksonville, Fla. The Emmett, Mich., native holds the 20th fastest qualifying time at 58.09. She has ran personal-best times in Jacksonville to advance to Des Moines. 

To advance to the finals Campbell has to be either in the top of her heat or finish with the next two best times after the six automatic qualifiers. Should she move on she would nearly be guaranteed as WMU's 10th All-American as long as she finished her race in the finals. This is the second trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for Campbell, who also competed in the 400 hurdles last season but missed out on qualifying for the finals.

Campbell is also a key cog in WMU's 4x400 meter relay team, along with Chatman, Arnold and Munwam. Two weeks ago at the NCAA East Preliminary the four combined for a time of 3:35.09, the seventh fastest in the region. Their time slots them with the 15th fastest time heading into Thursday night's 9:25 p.m. race. To advance the team must finish either first or second in their heat or with the next two fastest times outside of the top six qualifiers. 

The Broncos have never had a relay team make it ot the finals at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Freshman Lindsey Hufnagel is also traveling with the team as an alternate for the relay. She was a part of WMU's indoor 4x400 team that ran the 17th fastest time in the nation head of the likes of Stanford, South Carolina, USC, Arizona State, Mississippi, Baylor, TCU and Mississippi State in the top 25.