ARLINGTON, Texas – The UTA men's and women's track and field teams will be well represented at the NCAA West Preliminary Round, according to the official qualifying list revealed by the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Eight women, seven men and one relay team have earned berths in next week's meet in Austin, Texas. The Mavericks will have contestants in seven different events on the men's side and five on the women's slate.
"We are proud to have so many student-athletes representing UTA at the regional meet," coach John Sauerhage said. "Both of our teams have had outstanding years thus far, and we look forward to continuing those seasons next week. It's always a great experience to face off against the best of the best."
Craig Lautenslager headlines the list, having qualified in both the 5000 and 10,000 meters. The school record holder in both events is ranked 13th in the 10k race (29:00.59) and is seeded 25th in the 5k (13:56.85). The No. 13 ranking is the highest by any of the UTA men.
For the women, Helen Falda leads the way, as she is ranked sixth in the West region in the pole vault. The Sun Belt Conference indoor and outdoor champion in the event, her season-best effort of 4.38m is the school record by 20 centimeters.
Teammate Madison Pecot is also highly ranked in the pole vault. Pecot, who was the runner up to Falda at the Sun Belt meet last weekend, is seeded 16th with a best jump of 4.18 meters.
The men's squad will have three competitors in the 110m hurdles. Emeka Nwangwu is the top qualifier for the Mavericks, ranking 20th with a time of 13.93. Victor Vincher is two spots behind Nwangwu (22nd, 14.03), while Petter Gustafsson is listed 32nd (14.12).
The men's and women's teams will each have an entrant in the 800-meter races. For the women, three-time SBC outdoor champion Tamerah Gorham is in the field. She is ranked 44th with a clocking of 2:08.66. The men's 800m race will feature 15th-seeded Erik Martinsson, whose 1:48.53 is the second fastest clip in UTA history.
In addition to Falda and Pecot, five other women will be participating in field events. Alexus Henry, who placed among the top 20 in the high jump at the 2016 NCAA Outdoor Championships, will be looking to make a return trip to Eugene, Ore., in the event. She is seeded 33rd with a best mark of 1.76m.
UTA will have two entrants in each of the women's horizontal groups. Valery Lavrusha (32nd, 12.57m) and Chineme Obikudu (38th, 12.47m) will represent the Mavericks in the triple jump, while the long jump qualifiers are Chassity Love (38th, 6.12m) and Thilda Saernvaang (39th, 6.10m).
Tobi Fawehinmi is the lone men's field participant from UTA. He is listed 28th among triple jumpers in the West with a season-best effort of 15.50m.
Garrett Moore is a first-time regional participant in the 400m hurdles. He landed 44th in the rankings thanks to a 51.99 earlier this year. Moore is also a member of the 4x400m relay team. That squad, which also consists of Martinsson, De'Vion Simpson and Brenden Wallace, comes in with the No. 20 time (3:08.93).
The meet, hosted by the University of Texas, will take place Thursday through Saturday at Mike A. Myers Stadium.
To advance to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships (June 7-10), individuals and relays must place among the top 12 at the NCAA West Prelims.
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T&F: Falda advances to NCAA Championships
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T&F: Maverick men claim second triple crown ever