May 18, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas - The UT Arlington men's and women's track and field teams will look to put a disappointing Southland Conference Championships performance behind them next week, when a total of 13 Mavericks will be competing in the NCAA West Preliminary Round May 24-26 in Austin, Texas.
Seven UTA men earned the opportunity to compete in a total of nine events, while on the women's side, six athletes qualified in a total of five events--four individual races and one relay. Each individual competition features the top 48 athletes from the West Region, while each relay event includes the best 24 teams.
The top 12 finishers in each event will qualify for the NCAA Championships held June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa. Romain Martin, ranked third nationally in the decathlon, has already advanced to the NCAA Championships in that event, which is not contested in the Preliminary Rounds.
"We are hoping to bounce back next week and get several athletes qualified for the NCAA finals," head coach John Sauerhage said. "We still have the potential to have a season we're proud of. We had two All-Americans in the indoor season and we want to get at least that number in the outdoor season."
Shannon Reynolds, who will compete in three events, leads the Mavericks into Austin. Individually, she qualified in both the 100 meters (11.50) and 200 meters (23.70). She ranks 16th and 21st, respectively, among the participants in those events.
Another highlight is the fact that three UTA freshmen earned spots in the Preliminary Rounds. Leading that trio is Quentin Butler, who will participate in the men's 100m (31st, 10.43) and 200m (46th, 21.09).
Fellow freshman Ashly Wright will run in the 800 meters after her time of 2:08.42 at the SLC Championships earned her a spot in the field. Meanwhile, Omar Barnes, ranked 45th with a leap of 15.11 meters, will take part in the triple jump.
"All three are Texas kids, and we are very proud of them," Sauerhage said. " To make it to the NCAA first round as a freshman is very impressive."
Clayton Vaughn, who advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships as a freshman a year ago, has been hobbled by an injury much of this season. However, he will look to return to the NCAA finals in the 100 meters, entering with a time of 10.33 (19th).
Lionel Mungwari will compete in multiple events for the Mavs, the long jump and triple jump. He is listed 30th in the long jump (7.50m) and 41st in the triple jump (15.22m).
Three other men, Isiah Clements, Jeff Rodriguez and Martin (javelin), will participate in field events in Austin. Clements, seeded 16th in the high jump (2.16m) and Rodriguez ranked 11th in the pole vault (5.40m), have strong chances to advance. All three earned All-America accolades a year ago.
UTA's final competitor is Lindsey Putman, who will join Wright in the 800 meters. Putman's time of 2:08.66 ranks 47th.
Last year, the Mavericks has 12 participants at the NCAA West Prelims and had six individuals and one relay team advance to the NCAA Championships.
Live results of next week's event will be available at TexasSports.com.
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