May 28, 2010
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AUSTIN, Texas - Six Miners secured spots in the NCAA Championships following automatic qualifications in their respective events in day two of the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships West Preliminary on Friday in Austin, Texas.
"We had five guys qualify in their events and Blessing [Okagbare] qualify in two events today, so I would say we had a good day," head coach Bob Kitchens said. "We're definitely having a good meet. Now we just have to see what our relays and the remaining our of women do tomorrow."
On the men's side, Anderson Mutegi (400m) and Ronalds Arajs (100m), hammer throwers Dimitrios Fylladitakis and Hans Eriksson, and Nicodemus Ng'etich (3,000m steeplechase) will all make the trip to Eugene, Ore., in two weeks. Nine-time All-American Blessing Okagbare will represent the 13th-ranked women with appearances in the 100-meter dash and the long jump.
With a personal best and the fourth-best time in the west region, Mutegi was the first Miner sprinter to earn a trip to the national meet. The junior crossed the finish line at 45.22 for second in the first of three heats of the men's 400m, the top three of each heat plus the next best three times advanced to the semi-finals in Eugene.
Arajs stepped up to the challenge in the first heat of the men's 100-meter dash. Arajs went into the race with the fourth-best time in his heat from Thursday's preliminary round; with the top three advancing from each heat, Arajs finished third in his heat, 10.36, to automatically reserve a place at the NCAAs.
In the first of two events for Okagbare, the nine-time All-American turned in the second best performance of the day in the women's 100-meter dash. Okagbare was also an automatic qualifier finishing first in her heat clocking in a time of 11.22. The senior took third in the women's long jump after just three jumps. Following a foul in her first attempt, Okagbare leaped to 6.51m (21-04.25) in her second jump and 6.44m (21-01.50) in the third to qualify for the final three attempts. Okagbare passed on her final three having secured a spot at nationals.
Fylladitakis recorded just one mark in the men's hammer throw to advance to the national meet. The All-American's first throw of 65.78m (215-10) kept him in the lead through the first three rounds. He fouled in his second throw before
passing on his next three attempts to finish third overall in the west region. The top two finishers landed their top marks in the last and second to last attempts.
Eriksson earned the Miners' second spot in the national hammer competition finishing 12th at Friday's preliminar
ies in his third toss of the afternoon with a distance of 61.61m (201-01).
In the men's 3,000m steeplechase, Ng'etich went into the race with the region's 10th best time and the fourth best of his heat. The cross country All-American completed the run in 8:51.93, second in his heat and sixth overall to advance to the NCAA final.
Curtis Kock, Suji Adeniyan and Endurance Abinuwa ended their individual bids to Eugene on Friday night. Kock finished 17th in the men's 400m (46.79), Adeniyan was 37th in the 200m preliminaries (21.57) and Abinuwa missed a national qualification in the 200m by two spots finishing 14th (53.64). All three, however, will have a chance to make the trip to Oregon tomorrow as part of the 4x100m relays.
On the schedule for the final day of the west preliminary, junior Terran Alexander will take the field in the women's hammer throw. Running events will begin with the women's 4x100m relay followed by the men's 4x100m. Risper Kimaiyo and Kathya Garcia will take the track in the women's 5,000 meters.