Track & Field Teams Qualify 14 for NCAA Outdoor Championships

Track & Field Teams Qualify 14 for NCAA Outdoor Championships

St. Louis, Mo., May 18, 2014 – The Washington University in St. Louis men's and women's track & field teams had 14 individuals qualify to compete at the 2014 NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which will be held Thursday-Saturday, May 22-24, at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.

The top-16 relay, along with the top-20 individual men and top-22 individual women in each event were accepted into the competition. The Washington U. men will be represented by nine individuals – seniors Kevin Sparks and Arthur Townsend; juniors Nick Alaniva, James Hallwood, Troy Makous and Drew Padgett; sophomores Alex Bastian and James Fitzhugh; and freshman Deko Ricketts. On the women's side, Washington U. will have five individuals competing – senior Anna Etherington; juniors Lucy Cheadle, Melissa Gilkey and Claire Simons; and sophomore Emily Warner.

Eight individuals and a relay will be in action for Washington U. on the first day of competition Thursday. Alaniva and Makous compete in the men's pole vault beginning at 12:30 p.m. (ET). They qualified with the fifth-best mark this season with a school-record height of 4.91 meters. Alaniva and Makous are both first-time qualifiers for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Makous also qualified for the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships, placing 10th in the pole vault.

Etherington and Simons are set to compete in the women's pole vault at 4:30. Etherington posted the best qualifying mark in the country this season (4.11m), while Simons qualified in 22nd with a mark of 3.65m. A three-time NCAA Indoor All-American in the pole vault, Etherington is looking for her third straight NCAA Outdoor All-America honors after placing fourth in 2012 and finishing as the runner-up last year. Simons also qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2013, and finished 10th in the pole vault at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Championships.

On the track, Cheadle will kick things off for Washington U., running in the prelims of the women's 3,000 steeplechase at 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Her qualifying time of 10:29.58 ranked second in NCAA Division III this season. The women's steeplechase final is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday. Cheadle placed seventh in the steeplechase at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships, before missing the 2013 outdoor season with an injury. She is a three-time All-American in the 5,000 indoors, and also earned All-America honors in the 3,000 at this year's NCAA Indoor Championships.

Hallwood will make his debut at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the prelims of the men's 200 at 7:15 p.m. Thursday. He qualified 11th in the event with his school-record time of 21.41. The men's 200 final is set for 4:35 p.m. Saturday. The men's 1,600 relay team of Fitzhugh, Townsend, Hallwood and Ricketts, along with Bastian who is the alternate, is scheduled to compete in the prelims at 9:10 Thursday evening. Washington U. qualified 12th in the relay with a school-record time of 3:14.38, and will aim to earn a spot in the final, which is the meet's final event set for 5:35 p.m. Saturday.

Padgett and Sparks will also compete for Washington U. on the opening day of the meet, running in the men's 10,000 final at 8:10 p.m. Padgett had the second-best qualifying time (29:48.83), while Sparks qualified in 16th (30:27.05). Sparks finished ninth in the event at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships, while Padgett will be competing in it for the first time in his career.

Warner and Ricketts will be the lone competitors for Washington U. Friday, both running in the 800 prelims. Warner posted the fourth-fastest qualifying time in the women's race (2:10.13). It will be her first time competing in the 800 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, after running the 400 at last year's meet. She is a two-time NCAA Indoor qualifier in the 800, placing fifth in 2013. Ricketts earned a spot in the men's 800 field by qualifying 12th with a time of 1:51.04. It will be his first time competing in an individual event at the national championships, after running on the distance medley relay at this year's NCAA Indoor Championships. The event final for the women's 800 is set for 3:35 p.m. Saturday, followed by the men's final at 3:45.

Gilkey and Padgett are set to compete Saturday. Gilkey will try to earn All-America honors in the women's javelin for the second year in a row when she competes at Noon. She qualified 12th with a season-best throw of 42.71m, and placed third at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last year. Padgett will close the meet by running the men's 5,000 at 5:05 p.m. He qualified fourth in the event with his school-record time of 14:10.80. Padgett also competed in the 5,000 at last year's NCAA Outdoor Championships, missing All-America honors by one spot with his ninth-place finish.

A complete list of the 2014 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships qualifiers, along with a full schedule of events, can be found at http://results.deltatiming.com/tf/2014-ncaa-d3-outdoor-championships#.U3i1Uy-62OU.