INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Earlier Tuesday afternoon, the NCAA officially announced qualifiers for the 2014 Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The West Texas A&M men’s team will be sending five individuals to the event while the No. 19 Lady Buffs had seven total athletes qualify in nine separate events. The National Championship will take place on May 22-24 in Allendale, Mich. and will be co-hosted by Grand Valley State University and the West Michigan Sports Commission.
A total of 754 participants, 377 men and 377 women, will compete in the championships. Student-athletes qualified for the championships by reaching the automatic and provisional standards established for each event. The complete list of qualifiers is available at www.primetimetiming.com/liveresults/2014/ncaa_outdoor. Heat sheets will be available at this same website May 19.
Women’s Qualifiers (Event/National Seed)
Mireia Guarner (1500m/14th)
Marisa Holiwell (4x100m Relay/7th)
Rachel King (100m Hurdles/20th, 4x100m Relay/7th)
Sharon Kwarula (100m Hurdles/6th, 400m Hurdles/15th, 4x100m Relay/7th)
Bri Leeper (4x100m Relay/7th)
Malika Ouedraogo (Triple Jump/13th)
Libby Strickland (100m/13th, 200m/8th, High Jump/6th, Long Jump/19th, 4x100m Relay/7th)
Men’s Qualifiers (Event/National Rank)
Paul Alongo (Long Jump/14th)
Jerell Banks (200m/20th)
Arnau Erta (110m Hurdles/17th)
Benoit Nadin (Triple Jump/16th)
Zach Weatherly (Shot Put/8th, Discus/20th)
Leading the way for the Lady Buffs is sophomore Libby Strickland who is already a four-time All-American. The Amarillo native will be competing in five events at nationals. She currently sits sixth nationally in the high jump, an event which she was named All-America in earlier this indoor season and during the 2013 indoor season. She will also be competing in the 4x100m relay along with sophomore Bri Leeper, junior Sharon Kwarula and senior Rachel King.
Kwarula and King will be competing in multiple events as well as both have qualified in hurdles. Kwarula, a sixth seed nationally in the 100m hurdles, will also take part in the 400m hurdles. King will also be competing in the 100m hurdles.
Leeper and junior Malika Ouedraogo also have All-America awards on their belt. Leeper earned a seventh place finish with the 4x100m relay team at outdoor nationals in 2013 while Ouedraogo took second in the triple jump earlier this spring during indoor.
The Lady Buffs nearly had two more qualifiers as the 4x400m relay team was the first left out of the field. The NCAA only allowed 15 teams in this season and WT held the 16th spot, just .07 seconds out of a qualifying spot.
Two-returning All-Americans for the Buffs will be making the trip to Michigan. Junior Jerell Banks, who led the 4x100m relay team to a fourth place finish in outdoor as a freshman in 2012, will be competing in the 200m dash. Sophomore Paul Alongo will enter in the long jump, an event he placed seventh in during the previous indoor season. Sophomore Zach Weatherly qualified in two events: shot put and discus.
See the links at the top of the page for a full list of qualifiers and more information on the National Championship meet. Check back with www.GoBuffsGo.com and follow @WTAMUTrackXC in the days leading up the meet for more information and a closer look at this season’s qualifying WT athletes.