Stanford, 4x400m Relay Advance to NCAA Finals
May 31, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Junior thrower Devin Stanford and the Gophers' 4x400-meter relay team of Titania Markland, Jessica Waldvogel, Te'Shon Adderley and Megan Geyen will represent the University of Minnesota women's track & field team at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Stanford became the first Gopher to advance to the 2014 national meet with a 10th-place finish in the hammer throw at the 2014 NCAA West Prelims on Saturday afternoon. Stanford recorded a mark of 191-11 (58.51m) and is the first Gopher hammer thrower to advance to the NCAA finals since Liz Alabi competed in the hammer in 2007.
"Devin is so deserving of the chance to compete at the national meet," director of women's track & field and cross country Matt Bingle said. "Coach [Peter] Miller has done a great job with her. It was really good to see her have a big day."
The 4x400m relay team finished 11th overall and set a new Minnesota program record of 3:34.71 in the final event of the preliminaries. The performance marked back-to-back school records for the Gopher quartet after they recorded a program-record 3:35.07 for third place at the 2014 Big Ten Championships.
Markland, Waldvogel, Adderley and Geyen make up Minnesota's first-ever 4x400m relay team to advance to the national meet. The last Gopher relay team to compete in the NCAA finals was the 4x100m relay team of Todea-Kay Willis, Nyoka Giles, Chimerem Okoroji and Kylie Peterson, which took 13th outdoors in 2012.
"They ran well," Bingle said. "They are our first 4x400 team to go to nationals, so that was cool. It was fun, and it really means a lot, knowing each of their stories and how they got here. They were so excited, like a bunch of eight-year-olds running around like crazy after the race. It was a proud 'dad moment' for me.
"It was an exciting race. We were behind by probably 20 meters, and Te'Shon just rolled up a bunch of people. Megan and Te'Shon were on a war path on the third and fourth legs. They ran like they were possessed. As our two seniors, they were not ready to be done yet, and they shouldn't be."
Sophomore Lyndsey Thorpe also competed on Saturday and just missed advancing to the NCAA finals as she finished 13th overall in the hammer throw with a throw of 188-2 (57.37m), her second-best mark of the season.
The Gopher 4x100-meter relay team ran a season-best 44.91 for 15th place overall. Senior Akuoma Omeoga, Geyen, Waldvogel and redshirt freshman Erin Hawkins improved on their previous season-best time of 45.29. The team's 44.91 marks the fifth-fastest 4x100m time in Minnesota program history.
The top 12 individuals and relays from both the NCAA East and West Preliminaries will compete in the NCAA finals, which are set for June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore.