CANYON, Texas – The West Texas A&M men’s and No. 15 women’s track & field teams will be making their last trip before the NCAA Division II National Championship this weekend as they look to boost qualifying times and marks at the OBU Last Chance Qualifier. The meet at Oklahoma Baptist University, originally scheduled for Thursday but pushed back a day due to forecasted severe weather, will take place Friday, May 9, in Shawnee, Okla.
The meet will begin at 5 p.m. with field and track events. WT currently has 31 provisional qualifying marks between the men and women. Individuals who qualify will compete in the NCAA Division II National Championship on May 22-24 in Allendale, Mich.
On average, most individual events at nationals will feature approximately 20 athletes or fewer, with rankings 18-22 being closely on the bubble. However, other factors will also affect the number of athletes who qualify. Relays will usually hold about 14-16 teams at nationals.
“We need to take advantage of this last opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Championship,” noted head coach Darren Flowers. “Anything can happen when you get there but getting there is the toughest part.”
Expected athletes from WT who will be competing at OBU on Friday include junior Kemarki Absalom, junior Arnau Erta, junior Rhemecka Graham, junior Josh Helom, sophomore Benoit Nadin, senior Casey Nelson, junior Armando Rueda and sophomore Zach Weatherly.
For jumps, Absalom and Nadin will be looking to increase their provisional marks on Friday. Absalom currently ranks 33rd in the country in long jump with a mark of 7.22m (23’-8.25”). He will need to clear at or above 7.33m to reach that bubble range. Nadin is sitting at 20th in the country with a mark of 14.79m (48’-6.25”) in the triple jump.
Erta and Helom will be representing the Buffs’ hurdlers. Erta increased his PR in the 110m hurdles last week in the finals of the LSC Outdoor Championship in Kingsville, Texas with a time of 14.38. That moves him up to 20th on the national list and earned him a third place finish in the LSC. Helom ranks 21st in the country in the 400m hurdles with a time of 52.73.
Weatherly and Nelson will be going for the WT throwers. Weatherly already sits high on the shot put list at seventh with a mark of 17.83m (58’-6”). He will be trying to improve his discus mark which he sits 19th in the country at 51.34m (168’-5”). Nelson will also try to qualify for discus. She currently ranks 26th on the women’s side with a mark of 45.13m (148’-1”).
On the track, Graham has a low provisional in the women’s 800m with a time of 2:13.22 which ranks her 38th in the country. However, she also has a strong chance of qualifying for nationals in the 4x400m relay. Her team of juniors Sharon Kwarula and Jessie Thomas and sophomore Libby Strickland rank 14th (after schools with multiple times are taken out) in the country with a time of 3:45.70.
Below you can find a full list of every WT provisional qualifier along with their national ranking:
MEN’S PROVISIONAL QUALIFIERS
200m: Jerell Banks (21.23, 20th)
400m: Kennedy Prescott (47.86, 29th)
1500m: Baptiste Moreu (3:51.05, 22nd)
110mH: Arnau Erta (14.38, 20th)
400mH: Josh Helom (52.73, 21st)
4x100m: Absalom, Banks, Dennis, Ridge (41.09, 33rd/21st)
4x400m: Prescott, Davis, Dennis, Helom (3:13.64, 30th/23rd)
High Jump: Micah Washington (2.05m, 26th)
Long Jump: Paul Alongo (7.43m, 13th)
Long Jump: Kemarki Absalom (7.22m, 33rd)
Triple Jump: Benoit Nadin (14.79m, 20th)
Triple Jump: Micah Washington (14.53m, 34th)
Shot Put: Zach Weatherly (17.83m, 7th)
Discus: Zach Weatherly (51.34m, 19th)
Discus: Brady Sanders (49.70m, 34th)
WOMEN’S PROVISIONAL QUALIFIERS
100m: Libby Strickland (11.69, 10th)
100m: Bri Leeper (11.99, 36th)
200m: Libby Strickland (23.78, 8th)
200m: Bri Leeper (24.44, 28th)
800m: Rhemecka Graham (2:13.22, 38th)
1500m: Mireia Guarner (4:31.29, 13th)
5000m: Haley Sparks (17:04.99, 28th)
100mH: Sharon Kwarula (13.60, 6th)
100mH: Rachel King (14.06, 21st)
400mH: Sharon Kwarula (1:00.32, 12th)
4x100m: Holiwell (Kwarula), Leeper, Strickland, King (46.20, 8th/5th)
4x400m: Kwarula, Graham, Thomas, Strickland (3:45.70, 23rd/14th)
High Jump: Libby Strickland (1.74m, 7th)
Long Jump: Libby Strickland (5.93m, 17th)
Triple Jump: Malika Ouedraogo (12.47m, 14th)
Discus: Casey Nelson (45.13m, 27th)
See the link at the top of the page for more information on the event and the meet schedule. Check back with www.GoBuffsGo.com next week after the OBU Last Chance meet and before nationals to find out who qualifies and follow @WTAMUTrackXC on Twitter for more updates and the latest information on WT track & field.
Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.