Nine Track and Field Athletes Prep For NCAA Preliminaries

Nine Track and Field Athletes Prep For NCAA Preliminaries

A school-record nine Youngstown State track and field athletes are in Jacksonville, Fla., prepping for this weekend's NCAA Track and Field Preliminaries, May 29-31, at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida.

The Youngstown State contingent includes Bobby Grace, John Seaver, Austin McLean, Eric Rupe, Conner Neu, Jay Jakovina, Arnaldo Morales, Jessica Parham and Samantha Hamilton.

The first Penguins to compete will be Grace and Seaver in the shot put on Thursday, May 29, at 4 p.m. Parham is slated to throw the javelin at 5:30 while Hamilton is set for a 9:40 p.m. start in the 10,000-meters.

Grace, an All-American during the Indoor Track and Field Championships, enters the meet ranked ninth in the shot put with a season-best throw of 19.56 meters on April 18 at the Jesse Owens Classic. Seaver sits in 45th at 17.59 meters with an outdoor best at the Horizon League Championships on May 2.

Parham made the field in the javelin with a best toss of 44.75 meters which came at the Horizon League meet on May 2.

Hamilton qualified in the 10,000-meter run with a best time of 34:51.17 at the NCC Gregory Final Qualifier on May 15. She had the 45th-best time among the group.

On Friday, Neu will compete in the hammer throw onat 10 a.m. while McLean and Rupe will run in the steeplechase at 8:50 p.m.

Neu is currently 10th in the hammer throw with a season-long toss of 65.26 meters on May 9 at the Campbell Wright Open hosted by Akron.

In the steeplechase, McLean and Rupe have both qualified in the middle of the pack. McLean posted a season-best time of 8:57.59 which came at the Virginia Challenge on May 9 while Rupe had a time of 8:57.62 in the race on May 16 at the Louisville Twilight. The duo has the 27th and 28th-best times entering the meet.

Jakovina and Morales close out the Penguins NCAA event in the high jump on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Jakovina and Morales both cleared solid heights that advanced them to the meet. Jakovina cleared a height of 2.10 meters at the Raleigh Relays in March while Morales had a 2.09m on May 2 to win the Horizon League Championship. Jakovina has the 31st-best mark in the event while Morales is 42nd.

The previous high for Penguins to advance to the NCAA Prelims was four in 2012 when Grace, Hamilton, Kaitlyn Griffith and Alison Roth all competed. YSU had seven individuals and two relays participate in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Regionals in 2006. Since 2003, YSU has had 26 athletes compete in 41 events at NCAA Outdoor competitions.

The top-12 finishers from each event advance to the NCAA Championships. The NCAA Championships are set for June 11-14 at the University of Oregon in Eugene.