INDIANAPOLIS ---Twenty-one student-athletes from the Horizon League have punched their ticket to the NCAA East and West Preliminaries, according to the declaration lists released by the NCAA on Thursday.
The 2012 NCAA East Preliminaries will be held in Jacksonville, Fla. and the NCAA West Preliminaries will take place in Austin, Tex., May 24-26.
The top 48 competitors in every event, other than the heptathlon and decathlon, will be battling for the top-12 spots. The 12 who qualify in each event will advance to the finals of the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 6-9.
The three Butler athletes, who ranked among the top national performers in their respective events, have advanced to the East Prelims at the University of North Florida.
Junior Kirsty Legg and freshman Tom Curr both earned a spot in the 1500-meter runs, while sophomore Craig Jordan qualified for the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Legg, who won the Horizon League title in the 1500m earlier this month, had a qualifying time of 4:21.32. This will be her third consecutive year that she qualified for the NCAAs. Curr was the runner-up in the 1500m run at the Championships, had a qualifying time of 3:45.98 earlier in the season.
Jordan, who punched his ticket to the prelims for the second year in a row, had a qualifying time of 8:58.84 in the steeplechase.
Sophomore Eric Lewis qualified for the hammer throw in the East prelims. He is seeded with a mark of 58.23m (191-00), which he threw at Grand Valley State’s Last Chance Meet.
Detroit has had a representative from either the men's or women's team to compete every season since the regional format was established by the NCAA in 2003.
Five Ramblers have earned spots at the NCAA West prelims at the University of Texas. Declan Murray (800m), Danny Docherty (10,000m) and Josh Stein (10,000m) qualified on the men’s side and Gina Valgoi (10,000m) and Candice Carajohn (long jump) will represent the women.
Murray won the 800-meter Horizon League title earlier this month with a record-breaking time of 1:49.86 and punched his ticket to the NCAAs with a seeded time of 1:48.70, which he ran at the Musco Twilight.
Docherty qualified for the 10,000m run with a time of 29:16.46 at the prestigious Stanford Invitational and now stands in second place on LU’s all-time list. Stein won his second Horizon League 10K title in three years with a personal best time of 29:40.47 to qualify for the West prelims.
Valgoi punched her ticket to the prelims after she broke Leigh Anne Renk's 20-year old record in the 10K at the Stanford Invitational with a time of 33:53.81. Her time is 15th among the regional competitors.
After winning the long jump title at the Horizon League Championship, Carajohn will be able to extend her outdoor campaign. Seeded at 5.94m (19-6), she will look to break her own school record at the prelims and advance to the finals.
Milwaukee also sends five athletes -- two women (in three events) and three men -- to compete at the NCAA West Prelims.
Laura Hamel (high jump) and Samia Taylor (long jump & triple jump) qualified for the prelims after Hamel had a height of 1.74m (5-8.50) and Taylor had leaps of 5.87m (19-3.25) and 12.49m (40-11.75), respectively. Hamel broke the school record in the high jump earlier this season and Taylor won the long and triple jump titles at the Horizon League Championship.
Junior Durell Busby (110m hurdles), sophomore Dexter Schleis (400m hurdles) and freshman Aaron Dillon (triple jump) will represent the Panthers at the regionals for the men.
Busby broke the school and League records in the 110-meter hurdles and comes into the competition as the 14th seed with a time of 13.90. Schleis’ top time for the season is 51.72, which he ran at the Cardinal Twilight. Dillon, who was named the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year for field events, comes in with a seed of 15.20m (49-10.50).
The Flames will have three athletes represent them at the West prelims in Austin.
Kellie Schuh (pole vault) will be the lone female qualifier for UIC. Her season-best mark of 4.01m (13-1.75) set at Grand Valley State’s Last Chance Meet last weekend, helped her earn a spot in the top-48.
Junior Matt Zaluckyj will compete in the 800m run. He comes into the prelims seeded 37th with a time of 1:49.51, which he set at the Benedictine Eagle Invite in April.
Justin Higginbotham (triple jump) took second at the HL Championship with a leap of 14.51m. He comes into the competition with a seed of 15.21m, which also set at the Eagle Invite.
The Raiders lone qualifier, Cassandra Lloyd, is seeded 11th in the 100-meter hurdles with a qualifying time of 13.20.
The senior’s time was one of the world’s fastest after running the prestigious Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in March. Lloyd broke her own League record in the 100mH earlier this month with a wind-aided time of 13.39. It was the third year in a row that she’s won the title. Lloyd will look to advance to the NCAA finals out of the East region.
Also in the East region is Youngstown State. Juniors Samantha Hamilton and Kaitlyn Griffith qualified for the 5,000m run and the hammer throw, respectively.
Hamilton comes into the meet seeded with a time of 16:34.44, which she set at the Horizon League Championship where she had a runner-up finish.
Griffith qualified for the hammer throw with a distance of 56.15m (184-2). She won the HL title with a toss of 55.95m (183-07) earlier this month.
Sophomore Bobby Grace will represent the Penguins on the men’s side in the shot put. He comes in with a seed of 18.36m (60-3), which he threw at the Ashland University Alumni Open in April.
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