Austin, Texas- The Nebraska track and field team wrapped-up competition at the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas on Saturday with an addition of five athletes and the men's 4x100 meter relay team qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships. With six athletes qualifying over the first two days of competition, the Huskers are set to send 15 athletes to Des Moines, Iowa in two weeks as Bjorn Barrefors secured his bid in the decathlon prior to the regional meet.
Chad Wright and Tyler Hitchler were the first Huskers of the day to add their names to the qualifying list for the NCAA Championships. Wright recorded a throw of 193-9 on his fourth attempt to secure a second-place finish in the men's discus and give him his second NCAA Outdoor Championships bid. Hitchler used a throw of 188-0 on his first attempt to give him an eighth-place finish and his fourth appearance at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Wright and Hitchler competed in a loaded discus field as Luke Bryant of Oklahoma finished first with a throw of 197-8.
The men's 4x100 meter relay team of John Welk, Dexter McKenzie, Bobby Carter and Tim Thompson used an impressive performance in the first heat of the relay to finish third with a time of 39.97, qualifying for the NCAA Championships. The lean by Thompson at the finish line proved to be crucial as the Huskers edged Washington, which recorded a time of 39.98, for the automatic bid to Des Moines.
Ashley Miller punched her ticket to the NCAA Championships with a third-place finish in the second heat of the women's 1,500 meters. Miller, who narrowly missed qualifying in the women's 800 meters last night, used a time of 4:17.42 to secure her bid for the event that made her a second-team All-American in 2011.
Anna Weigandt and Mara Griva both qualified for the NCAA Championships in the triple jump, Griva for the second time in the triple jump and Weigandt for the first time. Griva, who qualified in the long jump on Thursday, recorded a fourth-place finish behind a jump of 43-7 3/4. Weigandt earned her NCAA bid with a seventh-place finish and a jump of 42-7.
Jade Siegel just missed qualifying for her final NCAA Championships in the women's hammer throw. With a mark of 198-11, she finished 15th. Victoria Zimmerman recorded a 19th-place finish behind a throw of 195-1. Dexter McKenzie finished 15th in the men's 200 meters with a time of 29.90, while Mara Weekes finished 19th on the women's side with a time of 23.89.
The Huskers will head back to Lincoln as preparations continue for the NCAA Outdoor Championships at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa. The meet is scheduled to start on Wednesday, June 6 and will last through Saturday, June 9.
Huskers Advancing to NCAA Championships
Morgan Wilken- Women's Discus
Miles Ukaoma- Men's 400 Meter Hurdles
Marusa Cernjul- Women's High Jump
Bjorn Barrefors- Men's Decathlon
Chris Phipps- Men's Long Jump
Mara Griva- Women's Long Jump, Women's Triple Jump
Luke Pinkelman- Men's Shot Put
Chad Wright- Men's Discus
Tyler Hitchler- Men's Discus
John Welk- 4x100 Meter Relay
Dexter McKenzie- 4x100 Meter Relay
Bobby Carter- 4x100 Meter Relay
Tim Thompson- 4x100 Meter Relay
Ashley Miller- Women's 1,500 Meters
Anna Weigandt- Women's Triple Jump