EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE track and field has qualified six student-athletes in eight events for the NCAA West Preliminaries in Lawrence, Kansas, May 27-28.
"It's a very good day. I am excited for our athletes that made it in," SIUE Interim Head Coach Scott Block said. "It's a chance for us to get out there and see some of the best athletes in the country. It's the first round of the National Championship. All of your training leads up to this moment."
Julian Harvey leads the way for the Cougars. After barely missing the qualifying mark a season ago, Harvey has come back this season to qualify in the long jump, triple jump and high jump. This is the second time in Harvey's career (2014) that he has qualified for all three jumps events.
Harvey leaped to a career best 25 feet, 11.5 inches in the long jump at the Arkansas Spring Invitational to earn the fourth-best mark in the region this season. His mark of 7-1.5 in the high jump placed him No. 16 in the West, while his leap of 51-5.75 at the OVC Championships was No. 20 on the qualifying list. Harvey's high jump and triple jump marks are both SIUE records.
Greg Block will make his first appearance at the NCAA Preliminaries, earning a place in the hammer throw with his toss of 199-2 at the SIUE Gateway Invite. Block's throw was No. 38 on the qualifying list.
Derek Drew will also make his first trip to the NCAA Preliminaries in the 400-meter hurdles. He ran a personal best time of 52.38 at the OVC Championships to win the OVC title and earn himself a place on the NCAA qualifying list.
"I'm especially happy for Derek Drew who placed No. 1 at the last race of his conference career and now he's getting in to the National Championships," Block added. "It's very exciting."
On the women's side, Brittney Gibbs makes her first appearance at the NCAA Preliminaries in the triple jump. The No. 1 Canadian triple jumper, she jumped to No. 27 on the qualifying list with a mark of 41-7.25.
Claire Nolan takes her first trip to NCAA postseason competition in the shot put. Her throw of 50-3.25 set an SIUE record and is No. 40 on the qualifying list.
LaDonna Caston, who is no stranger to NCAA competition, makes her third trip to the NCAA Preliminaries in the 100-meter hurdles. She ran a time of 13.66 seconds at the OVC Championships to ensure her place on the qualifying list at No. 45.
"Whoever shows up and has the best day – those are the people who move to the next round," Block said. "Hopefully we get them ready and they have the best day that they can."