AUSTIN, Texas -- On the heels of earning conference individual championships just two weeks ago, UTA junior Emeka Nwangwu and senior Craig Lautenslager each earned berths into the NCAA Championships in their respective events on Saturday night, the final day of action at the NCAA West Preliminary Round.
Nwangwu began UTA's night in fine fashion by finishing third in his heat of the 110m hurdles to automatically qualify for next month's championships. His time (13.86) was good for 12th place overall. His personal-best clocking ranks as the fifth-fastest time in school history. It will mark the first-ever appearance at the NCAA meet for the junior, who earlier this month won the Sun Belt Conference title.
Later in the evening, Lautenslager ran a 14:20.26 to qualify in the men's 5000 meters. He finished sixth in the first of two heats, and ultimately ended up with the No. 6 overall time after a 14:33.42 won the second race. On Thursday night, he had finished 13th in the 10,000m to fall shy of the NCAA meet in that race by one place (.65 seconds).
"With NCAA berths on the line, Emeka and Craig came through," UTA coach John Sauerhage said. "They are conference champions with big hearts."
The men's 4x400m relay team crossed the line in a season-best 3:08.48 to finish 17th overall among the 24 teams. The team, which placed sixth in the second heat, consisted of De'Vion Simpson, Karl Goodman, Garrett Moore and Brenden Wallace.
The Mavericks also had entrants in a pair of field events. Tobi Fawehinmi closed out his standout career by finishing 24th in the men's triple jump. The SBC Indoor Field Performer of the Meet had a best jump of 50-9 on Saturday.
Nwangwu, Lautenslager and Helen Falda (women's pole vault) will all be in action at the NCAA Outdoor Championships (June 7-10) in Eugene, Ore.
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