T&F: NCAA rookies set to compete this week

June 6, 2017

EUGENE, Ore. -- Three first-time NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships participants will be representing UTA this week at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

"This group truly deserves to be here on the biggest national stage," UTA coach John Sauerhage said. "Despite being at different stages of their careers, they each have done so much for UTA. We are eager to see them compete this week, and we wish them the best of luck."

Junior Emeka Nwangwu will kick off the Mavericks' week when he competes in the semifinals of the 110m hurdles on Wednesday evening. The native of Frisco, Texas, has won the past two Sun Belt Conference titles in the event. His time at the NCAA West Preliminary Round last month (13.86) ranks as the No. 5 clocking in school history.

The men's 110m hurdles will begin at 7:32 p.m. (CT), with Nwangwu running in the second of three heats. The top two from each heat plus the next two fastest times will advance to the Friday evening's final.

The following day, Helen Falda will become the first UTA woman since 1999 to compete in the pole vault at the NCAA Championships. Just a freshman, she smashed the school standard three times, topping out at a mark of 14-4 ½ (4.38m), which is more than a foot better than the record entering the 2017 season.

The native of Turin, Italy, won both the indoor and outdoor SBC titles in the pole vault and established a new Maverick Stadium record at the league championship in May. She competes Thursday evening at 7 p.m. (CT). The opening height will be 4.00m and it will increase by .15m for the first three rounds. After 4.45m, the bar will increase by .05m.

Senior Craig Lautenslager will close out his stellar career by running in his first-ever race at an NCAA Track Championship. It marks his second national meet appearance however, as he qualified for the 2016 NCAA Cross Country Championships in the fall.



In 2017, Lautenslager established school records in the 5000 meters (13:56.85) and 10,000 meters (29:00.59), and also posted the second-best 1500m time (3:46.91) in UTA history. The product of Nelson, New Zealand, will run in the finals of the 5000 meters at 9:25 p.m. (CT). All 24 finalists will be competing in the same heat.

The four-day NCAA Championships will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3. The competing Mavericks should be shown as follows: Nwangwu (ESPN2), Falda (ESPN2) and Lautenslager (ESPN). In addition, live results will be available here.



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