May 12, 2009
Seven Athletes Heading to NCAA Championships
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Seven Bearcats will travel to San Angelo, Texas, to compete for national titles following the announcement of the competition field today for the Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships May 21-23 at the LeGrand Sports Complex at Angelo State University. It's the largest contingent of athletes from Northwest Missouri State to participate in the outdoor championships since 2003.
Audrey Bailey, Emily Churchman and Ben McKim were each guaranteed a spot at the national meet based on their automatic qualifying performances earlier this season. Bridget Kleine, Anna O'Brien, Tyler Shaw and Kate Walter had to wait until today to learn that their provisional qualifying marks were good enough in the national performance lists to advance to San Angelo.
"It's a great day for women's track and field," said head coach Scott Lorek after five women's athletes were selected. "It's especially good because the competitiveness of Division II track and field has just gone through the roof in recent years."
Bailey will compete at the championships in the 400-meter hurdles for the second straight season with Division II's second-fastest time of 59.98 seconds. She became the first Bearcat to run under a minute in the event when she won her second MIAA 400-meter hurdle title May 3 at Joplin, Mo. She will compete in the preliminaries under the lights May 21 at 8:10 p.m. The finals are scheduled for May 23 at 8:01 p.m.
Churchman turned in a career-best performance in the heptathlon of 4,816 points last weekend at the Chicago Penultimate Meet to automatically qualify. She will be one of the 16 athletes in the heptathlon, the largest championship field since 2001. Churchman also advanced in the high jump with five feet, seven inches from the Tulsa Duels March 21. She will compete in the heptathlon the first two days before wrapping up with the high jump at 5:35 p.m. May 23.
Kleine will make her first national championship appearance in the 400-meter dash with Division II's 18th fastest time of 56.25 turned in at the Nebraska Invitational April 11. She stands fourth in program records in the 400-meter dash and earned All-MIAA honors in the 4x100-meter relay earlier this month. Kleine will compete in the preliminaries at 6:10 p.m. May 21 with the finals scheduled for 6:45 p.m. May 23.
McKim carries the nation's sixth-best mark in the shot put of 58-2 3/4 from the Kansas Relays April 18. He was an All-MIAA performer in the indoor shot and finished 10th at the national indoor championships in Houston earlier this year. McKim is one of seven MIAA athletes to qualify in the shot put and will compete at 5 p.m. May 22.
O'Brien qualified for the first time this season last Friday at the Dr. Keeler Invitational and broke her own program record in the 1,500-meter run with 4:36.76. She was the last athlete accepted in the event and will be able to extend her outdoor collegiate career another two weeks in her first national championship appearance. She will compete in the preliminaries at 5:40 p.m. Thursday with finals scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Saturday.
Shaw carries the nation's sixth-fastest time in the 110-meter hurdles with 14.28. He ran the program-record time en route to claiming his first MIAA title May 3. The freshman was the national runner-up at the indoor championships in the 60-meter hurdles and will start his campaign for his second All-America honor with the preliminaries at 7:15 p.m. Friday night. The finals are scheduled for 6:32 p.m. Saturday.
Walter survived the cut in the hammer throw with 168-3 and will be seeded 16th for the national championships. She was the runner-up at the MIAA meet and stands third in program records. She will be one of the first Northwest athletes to compete with a 3 p.m. start Thursday afternoon.
Athletes who finish in the top eight of their events automatically earn All-America honors.
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