Austin, Texas – The Nebraska track and field team opened competition at the NCAA West Preliminary Round at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas on Thursday. Over the three-day meet the Huskers will compete to earn a top-12 finish and move on to compete at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., in two weeks.
Chad Wright was the first Husker of the meet to advance to the NCAA Championships with a second-place finish in the men’s discus. He posted a throw of 198-3 (60.44) on his fifth attempt of the competition to advance to the finals in Eugene where he will look to defend his 2012 NCAA title.
Janis Leitis added his name to the list of athletes competing at the NCAA Championships in the long jump with a leap of 25-6 ¾ (7.79). He posted the jump on his fourth attempt of the competition and was able to pass on his final two attempts after already securing his spot in the finals.
Both women’s long jumpers competing on Friday advanced to the NCAA Championships. Mara Griva tallied a fifth-place showing with a season-best leap of 20-10 (6.35) on her third attempt, enabling her to pass on the final two attempts. Freshman Kari Heck also advanced to the final round, finishing 11th overall with a season-best mark of 20-5 ¾ (6.24) on her first attempt. She will be making her first appearance at an NCAA Championships in Eugene.
All three Huskers competing in the men’s 400-meter hurdles advanced to tomorrow’s quarterfinal. The group was led by Miles Ukaoma as he tallied a time of 50.99 to win his heat. Jodi-Rae Blackwood finished second in his heat with a time of 51.29, while Tibor Koroknai took third in his heat with a time of 51.42. The top three from each quarterfinal plus the next best three times tomorrow will advance to the NCAA Championships.
Also advancing to tomorrow’s quarterfinal were Levi Gipson and Cody Rush in the men’s 400 meters. Gipson finished third in his heat of the preliminaries, tallying a time of 47.01. Cody Rush finished fourth in his heat, but advanced on time with a clip of 46.76.
In the women’s 800 meters, Shawnice Williams came in third in her heat to advance to the quarterfinal. She posted a personal-best time of 2:07.27 to earn a berth in the next round.
Competition resumes tomorrow and will begin at Mike A. Myers Stadium at noon with the women’s discus. The first running event is slated for 5 p.m. with the women’s 100-meter hurdles.