LOGAN, Utah — Utah State men and women's track and field teams qualified nine athletes in 13 events to compete in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships that will be held at the Mike A. Myers Track & Soccer Stadium in Austin, Texas on Thursday through Friday, May 24-26.
Representing USU in the first round will be senior distance runner Daniel Howell in the 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m, along with fellow seniors Sonia Grabowska in the pole vault and Lindsey Spencer in the hammer and discus. Freshman sprinter Nic Bowens also qualified in the 100m and 200m, while fellow freshman Devin Wright will compete in the javelin.
Sophomore thrower Bryce Hall qualified in both the discus and hammer events as did sophomore hurdler AJ Boully in the 400m hurdles. Junior sprinter Bailee Whitworth rounded out those representing the Aggies as she will compete in the 200m. Senior Katelyn Heiner qualified in the 400m but due to class scheduling conflicts will not be able to compete.
"We are excited to get as many athletes into the first round as we did and we are excited to see what they can do," said veteran Utah State head coach Gregg Gensel. "They have all had solid marks all season and we look forward to seeing them take their talents to the next level, while competing with some of the best competition in the nation. For the seniors, this is a great way to leave a mark on their legacy here at USU and for our underclassmen, this goes to show how hard they have worked to get to this point. This has been a great year to be an Aggie and we look to finish the year off with a great showing at the NCAA level."
Utah State's women are coming off their first Western Athletic Conference Outdoor title, while also completing a sweep of the 2012 WAC Track & Field Championships as they also won the indoor title in February. The nine athletes representing USU is the fewest the Aggies have sent to the first round of the NCAA Outdoor Championships since before joining the WAC in the 2005-06 season.
Field events will kick off the action each day at the first round of the NCAA Championships at 10 a.m. (MT), while the running events will begin later in the afternoon. For championship information, including an event schedule, fans can visit http://www.texassports.com/ot/2012-ncaa-tf-west-prelims.html.
Live results will be available for fans to follow each event by clicking on the "live results" link at www.utahstateaggies.com.
The finals for the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be held on June 6-9 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa.
Fans can follow Utah State Athletics, including USU track & field and cross country, at http://twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
USU NCAA First Round Championship Qualifying Athlete Information:
Boully, a Boise, Idaho native (Borah HS), won her second-straight 400m hurdles WAC outdoor title last week in Moscow, Idaho with a personal-best time of 51.67. The time also ranks Boully 30th in the West Region and 57th in the nation in the event this season.
Bowens, a native of Meridian, Idaho (Meridian HS), placed second in both the 100m and 200m races at the 2012 WAC Outdoor Championships in Moscow, Idaho last week with personal-best and qualifying times of 10.47 and 21.07, respectively. Bowens ranks 45th in the West for the 100m which also ranks put him in a five-way tie for fifth-place in school history. He also ranks 46th in the West for the 200m that also is the eighth-best time in the Utah State record books.
Grabowska, a Warsaw, Poland native (VIII Lo Wtadystaw IV), won her first WAC outdoor pole vaulting title last week to become a six-time first-team all-WAC honoree. Grabowska cleared 4.12m (13-06.25) to win the pole vault at the USU hosted Mark Faldmo Invitational in Logan, Utah on April 21. The height is the 23rd-best vault in the West this season and ranks Grabowska 33rd in the nation for the event this season. She also holds the indoor and outdoor records at USU with vaults of 4.25m (13-11.25) and 4.21m (13-09.75), respectively.
Hall, a native of Kaysville, Utah (Davis HS), won the discus at the 2012 WAC Outdoor Championships with a personal-best and qualifying throw of 52.34m (171-09), which ranks him 50th in the West and 92nd in the nation this season. He also qualified in the hammer throw with a toss of 58.39m (191-07) at the UVU Invitational in Orem, Utah on March 30. With the mark in the hammer throw, Hall ranks 50th in the West and 94th in the nation while also having the eighth-best throw in school history.
Heiner, an Ogden, Utah native (Ogden HS), placed second in the 400m at the WAC Outdoor Championships in Moscow, Idaho last week with a personal-best and qualifying time of 54.30. The time also ranks her at No. 55 in the West as well as being the eighth-best time in Utah State history. Heiner will not be traveling to Austin, Texas to compete as she has school conflicts with her class schedules.
Howell, a native of Manti, Utah (Manti HS), won the WAC championships in both the 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m last week to become a 13-time first-team all-WAC honoree. Howell qualified for the 3,000m steeplechase with a personal-best time of 8:48.25 which he ran at the Stanford Invitational in Stanford, Calif. on April 6. With the time, Howell ranks 10th in the West and 21st in nation in the event this season, while also ranking second in USU history. He also qualified in the 5,000m with a personal-best time of 14:12.41 that he ran at Sacramento State's Mondo Mid-Major Challenge in Sacramento, Calif. on April 14. Howell ranks 74th in the West in the 5,000m and 154th in the nation, along with the time being the fifth-best in Aggie history.
Spencer, an Ogden, Utah native (Fremont HS/Weber State), extended her school record in the hammer throw to win the WAC Outdoor title with a qualifying toss of 61.99m (203-04) in Moscow, Idaho last week. The mark also ranks her 10th in the West and 17th overall in the nation this season. Spencer also qualified in the discus with a USU school-record throw of 54.48m (178-09), which she threw at Sacramento State's Mondo Mid-Major Challenge in Sacramento, Calif. on April 14. The mark is the 12th-best in the West this season, while also ranking Spencer 20th in the nation this season.
Whitworth, a native of Centerville, Utah (Viewmont HS), ran a personal-best and qualifying time of 24.03 in the 200m to place second at the 2012 WAC Outdoor Championships in Moscow, Idaho last week. With the time, Whitworth ranks 80th in the West, while also sitting at No. 7 in Aggie history.
Wright, a Monticello, Utah native (Monticello HS), took second-place in the javelin at Arizona's Willie Williams Classic in Tucson, Ariz. on March 17, with a personal-best and qualifying throw of 63.61m (208-08). With the mark, Wright ranks 50th in the West and 95th in the nation this season, while also ranking eighth in Utah State's track and field history.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.