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USU track: Aggies head to Arkansas for NCAA Championship

By Mitch Praxl

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, May 28 2014 1:27 p.m. MDT

Utah State's men's and women's track and field teams will be represented by 18 student-athletes competing in 16 events at the first round of the NCAA Championship at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The championships will be held Thursday through Saturday, May 29-31.

Competition begins Thursday at 11 a.m. MT, with the women's javelin, and ends at 8:40 p.m., with the women's 10,000m. Action resumes Friday at 9 a.m., with the men's hammer throw, and concludes at 8:30 p.m., with the women's 3,000m steeplechase. Saturday's action starts at 9 a.m., with the women's hammer throw, while the women's 4x400m relay race wraps up the meet up at 8:45 p.m.

Utah State is coming off its first Mountain West Outdoor Championships, in which the Aggie men placed third and the USU women finished sixth. The Aggies garnered six event titles and 22 first-team all-Mountain West selections. Additionally, junior Nic Bowens was named the Outstanding Performer of the Meet.

"We are really excited to participate in the first round of the NCAA Championships because of how highly ranked our student-athletes are that will be competing this weekend," head coach Gregg Gensel said. "All of our qualifying student-athletes have put in a lot of hard work and this is a great accomplishment in their careers."

For the Aggie women, juniors Rachel Orr and Chari Hawkins will take part in the high jump after setting the 11th (1.80m) and 42nd-best (1.75m) marks in the field, respectively. Hawkins also qualified in the long jump with a 24th ranking (6.09m) and 100m hurdles with a ranking of 30th (13.57).

Senior Sam Nielson qualified in the triple jump with the 40th-best leap of 12.39m, while senior Keeley Eldredge and junior Melanie Heslop will compete in the hammer throw after posting rankings of 20th (60.00m) and 31st (58.76m), respectively. Senior Kaylee Hartshorn and freshman Mia Estes qualified in the javelin after ranking 29th (47.74m) and 41st (45.94m), respectively.

On the track, senior Kylie Ross set the 39th-best time of 59.80 to qualify in the 400m hurdles, and junior Brittany Bushman will compete in the 3,000m steeplechase after recording a time of 10:28.18, good for the 41st-fastest time in the field.

On the men's side, Aggie sprinters make up a large portion of the field. Junior Nic Bowens (10th/10.19), senior Silas Pimentel (28th/10.42) and sophomore Parker Bluth (35th/10.43) will compete in the 100m. Bowens (13th/20.77) and Pimentel (28th/10.42) also qualified for the 200m. Bowens, Pimentel and Bluth, along with senior Jacob Bautista Jr., will also take part in the 4x100m relay race after posting a ranking of ninth with a time of 39.68. Junior Cole Lambourne will represtent Utah State in the 400m after setting the 33rd-fastest time of 46.92. Finally, junior Eric Shellhorn (45th/3:46.03) will compete in the 1,500m, and freshman Colby Wilson (22nd/8:54.12) will take part in the 3,000m steeplechase.

In the field, senior Bryce Hall qualified in the shot put with a ranking of 45th (17.28m) and sophomore Kevin Allen will compete in the discus after ranking 30th (54.92).

Following the first round, qualifying athletes will advance to the NCAA Championship Finals in Eugene, Oregon, on June 11-13.

Utah State Athletic Media Relations

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