May 18, 2009
Bearcats Gear Up for National Championships
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Five women and two men will make up the largest championship group for Northwest Missouri State since 2003 when the Bearcats depart Tuesday for the NCAA Outdoor Championships May 21-23 at the LeGrand Sports Complex in San Angelo, Texas.
The first group of athletes and coaches will depart from Maryville at 7 a.m. Tuesday for the 13 hour trip. The second group will leave at 3 p.m. for athletes who are enrolled in May courses and arrive Wednesday afternoon in time for the practice session.
Temperatures are expected to reach highs of the upper-80s during the three-day event with partly cloudy skies. Long-range forecasts indicate a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms Saturday.
The five Bearcat women are the most to travel to the championships since five qualified in 1997. During that meet at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, three Bearcats (Brandy Haan, Jacshelle Sasser and Julie Humphreys) combined for five All-America titles (100 meters, 200 meters, high jump, discus and hammer).
The Northwest women are second among MIAA schools with five qualifiers. Conference champion Missouri Southern is leading the MIAA women's squads with six athletes.
Audrey Bailey is ranked second among the nation's 400-meter hurdlers with a program-record 59.98 seconds. In women's track and field, she is poised to become Northwest's first outdoor national champion and third overall. Leticia Gilbert (shot put) and Jenny Simmons (pole vault) both won their national titles for the Bearcats during the indoor seasons.
Kate Walter, Bridget Kleine and Anna O'Brien are making their debut at a national championship meet. Walter is 16th in national performance lists with 168 feet, three inches in the hammer throw. Kleine is 18th with 56.25 in the 400-meter dash while O'Brien was the last athlete accepted in the 1,500-meter run with her program-record 4:36.76.
Emily Churchman will be busy all three days in San Angelo with the heptathlon and high jump. Churchman was one of 17 athletes to reach the automatically qualify in the heptathlon after the mark was lowered 50 points to 4,800, and will be one of 16 who compete after MIAA champion Shannon Moore of Nebraska-Omaha scratched from competition. Churchman will enter the championships tied for 15th in the high jump with 5-7.
Ben McKim and Tyler Shaw are making their second championship appearance this year after the duo both represented the men's team at the national indoor championships. Shaw is one of three freshmen in the 110-meter hurdle preliminaries and is sixth among all athletes with his program-record 14.28. McKim is sixth is the shot put standings with his 58-3 from the Kansas Relays April 17.
The top eight athletes in each event earn All-America honors.
Northwest will have athletes competing in all three days of the championships. The five Bearcat women will be the only athletes competing on Thursday, beginning with Churchman in the heptathlon at 11:30 a.m. Walter competes in the finals of the hammer throw at 3 p.m. before running events start at 5:40 p.m. with O'Brien in the preliminaries of the 1,500-meter run. Kleine and Bailey compete in the preliminaries of the 400-meter dash and hurdles at 6:10 p.m. and 8:10 p.m, respectively.
Friday's events will feature Churchman in the second day of the heptatlon starting at 11 a.m. before the Bearcat men compete in events during the late afternoon and evening. McKim will be one of seven MIAA athletes in the shot put at 5 p.m. while Shaw competes in the preliminaries of the 110-meter hurdles at 7:35 p.m.
Saturday will feature all finals events, and the only athlete guaranteed to compete is Churchman in the high jump at 5:35 p.m. If all four Bearcats in the running events advance, O'Brien will start at 6:05 p.m., followed by Shaw at 6:32 p.m., Kleine at 6:45 p.m. and Bailey at 8:01 p.m.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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