Gophers Set for NCAA West Prelims
May 27, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – Fifteen Golden Gophers and two relay teams are slated to compete at the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Outdoor Track & Field West Preliminary hosted by the University of Arkansas this week. Action gets underway Thursday and concludes Saturday.
Seven Gophers are repeat NCAA preliminary qualifiers, while eight individuals are making their NCAA debuts. The top 12 individuals and relays from both the NCAA East and West Preliminaries will advance to the NCAA finals, which are set for June 11-14 in Eugene, Ore.
About the 2014 NCAA West Preliminary
The University of Arkansas will host the 2014 NCAA Division I Women's Outdoor Track & Field West Preliminary Thursday through Saturday, at John McDonnell Track in Fayetteville, Ark.
The women’s javelin competition, featuring freshman Nicolle Murphy, kicks off the NCAA West Preliminary at noon CT Thursday. The first event on the track is the men’s 400-meter hurdles at 4:30 p.m. CT Thursday. First round, quarterfinal and semifinal events are scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Fifteen Gophers Qualify for NCAA Prelims
Senior Katie Moraczewski is making her fourth-consecutive NCAA regional appearance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Fellow senior Laura Docherty, who will compete in the 10,000-meter run, is also a repeat participant after racing in the 5,000-meter run in both 2013 and 2012.
Megan Geyen (400m), Te'Shon Adderley (800m), Liz Berkholtz (10,000m), Kelli Budd (3,000m steeplechase) and Devin Stanford (discus and hammer throw) are all competing in their respective events for the second-straight year.
Fellow Gophers Kaitlin Mincke (1,500-meter), Kaila Urick (3,000-meter steeplechase), Katie Murgic (pole vault), Cami Gilson (pole vault), Angie Guenther (discus), Lyndsey Thorpe (hammer throw), Nicolle Murphy (javelin) and Kailee Kamps (shot put) are making their NCAA debuts this week.
After failing to advance either relay team in 2013, the Gophers are sending both their 4x100-meter relay and the 4x400-meter relay teams to the NCAA preliminary round as well. The 4x400m team of Titania Markland, Jessica Waldvogel, Adderley and Geyen set a new Minnesota program record (3:35.07) for third place at last weekend's Big Ten Championships, and the 4x100m team of Akuoma Omeoga, Geyen, Waldvogel and Erin Hawkins looks to improve on its season-best time of 45.29.
Gophers' Competition Schedule
12 p.m. Thursday: Javelin First Round (Nicolle Murphy)
3 p.m. Friday: Discus First Round (Devin Stanford, Angie Guenther)
10 a.m. Saturday: Hammer First Round (Devin Stanford, Lyndsey Thorpe)
2013 NCAA West Preliminary Rewind
Twelve Gophers advanced to the 2013 NCAA West Preliminary. Minnesota had competitors in 10 different events as Te’Shon Adderley (800m), Liz Berkholtz (10,000m), Emily Betz (javelin), Alena Brooks (800m), Kelli Budd (3,000m steeplechase), Laura Docherty (5,000m), Megan Geyen (400m), Jeri Johnson-Chambers (hammer), Katie Loberg (high jump), Katie Moraczewski (3,000m steeplechase), Devin Stanford (discus, hammer) and Todea-Kay Willis (long jump) represented Minnesota at the meet a year ago.
Docherty was the lone Gopher to advance to the 2013 NCAA finals after running a personal-best time of 16:10.63 to finish fifth in her section and ninth overall in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA West Preliminary.
Last Time Out: 2014 Big Ten Championships Rewind
Three Gophers finished as B1G runners-up at the 2014 Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Junior Devin Stanford finished second in the discus with a throw of 167-7 (51.09m), sophomore Jess Herauf recorded a career-best 5,490 points for second in the heptathlon and freshman Nicolle Murphy was the javelin runner-up with a career-best throw of 175-9 (53.58m).
The Gophers finished seventh in the team standings with 75.50 points. Penn State took home the B1G team title with 136.00 points, followed by Nebraska (102.50) and Purdue (89.00) in the top three. Just 10.50 points separated fourth place through seventh place in the always-tight team standings as Iowa and Michigan tied for fourth (86.00) and Michigan State finished sixth (85.00).
USTFCCCA National & Regional Rankings Update
No. 1 Texas, No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Oregon, No. 4 Texas A&M and No. 5 Kentucky are the top five teams in the USTFCCCA NCAA Division I National Team Rankings for the week of May 27. No. 16 Penn State and No. 20 Michigan are the lone Big Ten Conference team ranked in the top 25. The next USTFCCCA rankings are slated to be released Tuesday, June 3.
The Gophers finished the season ranked sixth in the Midwest Region according to the USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Regional Index. Kansas led the way, followed by Nebraska, Kansas State, Iowa State and Missouri in the top five. The Gophers finished ahead of Big Ten foes Iowa (eighth) and Illinois (10th).
Gophers Rank Among Nation’s Best
Freshman Nicolle Murphy leads the Gophers into the NCAA West Preliminary, seeded sixth in the javelin at 175-9 (53.58m). On the track, the Gophers’ 4x400m time of 3:35.07 lands the team 12th of 24 teams, and senior Kelli Budd is the highest-seeded individual at 13th in the 3,000m steeplechase (10:14.53). Junior Devin Stanford is seeded 20th in the hammer throw at 196-7 (59.92m) as well.
2014 Gophers Secure All-Time Bests
Sixteen Gophers have recorded all-time top-10 marks this season, including a Minnesota record-breaking performance by the 4x400m relay team at the Big Ten Championships. Jess Herauf (heptathlon, javelin), Kelli Budd (5,000m, 3,000m steeplechase), Alex Beckman (heptathlon, 100m hurdles), Erin Hawkins (100m, 200m) and Audra Winter (heptathlon, high jump) have set top-10 marks in two individual events this season. The 2014 Gophers have posted eight of the program’s all-time top-10 relay performances as well.
1. Markland, Waldvogel, Adderley, Geyen, 4x400m (3:35.07)
Gophers at the NCAA Outdoor Championships
Laura Docherty is the most recent Gopher to compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, finishing 18th in the 5,000m last year.
Earlier this season, Alena Brooks and Jess Herauf became Minnesota’s most recent All-Americans in representing the Maroon & Gold at the 2014 NCAA Division I Indoor Championships. Brooks picked up first-team All-American honors with a seventh-place finish in the 800m, while Herauf earned second-team honors by placing ninth in the pentathlon.
Fifty-six Gophers have competed in the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships since 1983. Minnesota’s highest outdoor team finish is tied for 13th in 2008. Indoors, the Gophers’ best finish is 12th, a feat accomplished in 2006 and 2009 (tied for 12th).
Gopher Track & Field, Cross Country Rank 17th
Following the cross country and indoor track & field seasons, Minnesota ranked 17th in the nation for the 2013-14 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Program of the Year award. The USTFCCCA Program of the Year Awards are awarded annually to the most outstanding cross country/track & field programs. The award honors the institution that has achieved the most success in each academic year (spanning the cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field seasons) based on the institution’s finish at the NCAA Championships.
Up Next: 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships
The top 12 individuals and relays from both the NCAA East and West Preliminaries will advance to the NCAA finals, which are set for June 11-14 hosted by the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore.