16 USU track and field athletes qualify for West Regionals

Utah State track and field is sending 11 men and five women athletes to the NCAA Championship West Region Preliminary Round, in Austin, Texas next Thursday-Saturday, May 27-29, as the qualifiers were announced Friday afternoon.This is the first season of the NCAA Preliminary Round after having regional qualifying meets since 2003. USU averaged sending 15 athletes to the regional meet with a high of 20 last year and a low of nine in 2004.The USU men are coming off their second-straight Western Athletic Conference championship last weekend, while the Aggie women finished fourth for the third-straight season.Of the 11 men’s qualifiers, five have top-10 marks in the region, highlighted by junior high jumper Clint Silcock’s top qualifying height in the region with a 2.26m (7-05.00) mark from the USU Mark Faldmo Invitational on April 17. Senior Steve Strickland has the fifth-best mark in the region in the 3,000m steeplechase with an 8:42.97 time from the Cal Brutus Hamilton Invitational on April 23. Junior thrower Joe Canavan has the No. 6 mark in the shot put with a 18.40m (60-04.50) mark from the Idaho-Utah Border Clash meet on April 30. Senior Nick Karren and junior Mike Pyrtle round out the top 10 marks for the Aggies as both are ranked No. 10 in their respective events, as Karren has the No. 10 mark in the 400m hurdles, with his WAC Championship winning time of 50.35, while Pyrtle, the WAC Champion in the 100m dash, is No. 10 in the event with a time of 10.33 from the prelim’s of the WAC Championships.Fellow junior Armahd Lewis is No. 32 in the 100m with a 10.51 in the prelims of the 100m before finishing second in the WAC Championship behind Pyrtle. Karren, Pyrtle, Lewis and freshman Matt Maughan’s school-record 40.05 4x100m relay team is the 11th-fastest qualifying time in the region.Senior Jason Holt has the 40th-fastest time in the 800m with a 1:49.77 run at the USU Mark Faldmo Invitational on April 17, while junior Brian McKenna has the 18th-fastest time in the region in the 10,000m with a 29:00.76 at the Stanford Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational. Daniel Howell will join Strickland in the 3,000m steeplechase, as the sophomore’s 8:59.84 time, also from the Cal Brutus Hamilton Invitational on April 23, is No. 35 in the region.Lewis also qualified in the 200m dash, as his 21.33 time in finishing fourth-place at the WAC Championships is the 46th-fastest qualifying time in the region. Senior Dylan Nielson qualified in the 110m hurdles, as his 14.33 time in placing third at the WAC Championships is the No. 39 qualifying time.The USU women feature two Aggie discus throwers qualifying in junior Lindsey Spencer with the 19th-best qualifying mark in the region with a 50.81m (166-08.00) mark from the UCLA Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational on April 8, while fellow junior Shannon Prince is No. 25 with a mark of 50.13m (164-06.00) from the USU Mark Faldmo Invitational on April 17.Spencer also is ranked No. 34 in the region in the hammer throw with a distance of 56.23m (184-06.00),Senior Erin Stratton has the No. 18 spot in the region in the 3,000m steeplechase with a 10:24.08 time from the Cal Brutus Hamilton Invitational on April 23. Junior Sonia Grabowska is No. 34 in the pole vault with a mark of 3.95m (12-11.50) from her second-place finish at the WAC Championships. Senior Elaine Connolly qualified in the 800m as her 2:09.06 time in finishing second at the WAC Championships is ranked No. 37 in the region.The 2010 NCAA Championship West Region Preliminary Round is hosted by the University of Texas at the Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium. Those athletes that qualify for the National Championships will compete at the 2010 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships, June 9–12 at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., hosted by the University of Oregon.

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