MOUNT PLEASANT – Members of the indoor track and field team will be competing throughout the Midwest this weekend for one final shot to qualify for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field National Championships.
Four student-athletes will be traveling to Notre Dame, Ind., to compete in the Alex Wilson Invitational on Friday, March 2 through Saturday, March 3, while three others will be traveling to Blacksburg, Va., to take part in the Virginia Tech Qualifier on Saturday, March 3.
These meets will be the last chance for student-athletes to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships hosted by Boise State in Nampa, Idaho, on March 9-10.
"Right now we're just going in trying to make sure we can get individual qualifiers for the national championships," director of track and field and cross country Willie Randolph said. "These athletes are trying to improve their marks to the highest level, and berths to the national championships are their goals."
Senior thrower Kevin Mays has already punched his ticket to Boise with his automatic-qualifying, school-record mark of 71-11 in the weight throw at the Akron Invitational two weeks ago. However, he will be competing at Notre Dame as a tune-up for nationals after missing the Mid-American Conference Championships in Akron, Ohio, due to a non-athletic medical concern.
"We're trying to make sure Kevin Mays gets the small amount of rust off that may be on him from not being able to compete or practice last week," Randolph said. "We want him to solidify a great opportunity to become an All-American."
Mays is currently ranked sixth in the nation, according to the Track and Field Results Reporting System.
Garcia will be competing in the mile run. She ran a season-best time of 4:54.25 at the MAC Championships on Saturday, just under four seconds shy of the current indoor school record of 4:50.5.
Meanwhile, junior hurdler and MAC Champion Renaldo Powell will look to convert the momentum he picked up at Akron this past weekend into a NCAA Championship berth. Fellow MAC Champion senior Josh Kettlewell (heptathlon) will be competing in the pole vault, an event in which he is ranked 40th in the nation.
Senior Kirlene Roberts will be competing in the 60m dash after recording a sixth-place finish in the event at the MAC Championships with a season-best and nearly career-best 7.6 after missing a month of the season with an injury.
A selection committee will also determine at the conclusion of the weekend if Kettlewell will compete in the heptathlon in Boise. He is currently ranked 17th nationally in the event and set the school record earlier this season with a score of 5,673 points.
|Name||Event||Season-Best||NCAA Auto Mark||TFRRS Rank|
|Renaldo Powell||60m hurdles||8.06||7.70||106|
|Kirlene Roberts||60m dash||7.6||7.23||185|
|Josh Kettlewell||Pole Vault||17-01||18-00.75||40|
|Kevin Mays||Weight Throw||71-11||70-06.50||6|
|Ryan McCullough||Weight Throw||65-04.75||70-06.50||29|
|Calvin Jackson||Weight Throw||59-05||70-06.50||124|
|Veronica Garcia||Mile run||4:54.25||4:37.00||239|