INDIANAPOLIS – Ten Eastern Kentucky University track and field student-athletes have qualified for the NCAA East Region Track and Field Preliminary Championships, to be held May 25-27 at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
It is the most athletes EKU has ever sent to a regional meet.
The ten EKU qualifiers are freshman Samuel Abascal (men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase), junior Jakob Abrahamsen (men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase), junior Luisa Boschan (women’s 5,000 meters), sophomore Tequan Claitt (men’s high jump), junior Jamaine Coleman (men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase), junior Charlotte Imer (women’s 5,000 meters), senior Luis Luna (men’s 5,000 meters), sophomore Erick Rotich (men’s 5,000 meters), freshman Nickson Rotich (men’s 800 meters) and junior Haley Yost (women’s 1,500 meters and 800 meters).
The top-48 performances from the season in each event earned entry to the NCAA East Region Preliminaries.
The top-12 finishers from each event at regionals will advance to the NCAA Championships, to be held June 7-10 at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Abascal – Abascal formed the third leg of EKU’s steeplechase triumvirate this season. The native of Sancibrian, Spain ran a personal-best and regional-qualifying time of 8:53.19 at the Virginia Challenge on April 22. He took bronze in the steeplechase at the OVC Outdoor Championships on May 12. He enters the regional meet ranked 19th in the event. This is his first trip to the NCAA regionals.
Abrahamsen – The junior from Denmark brings more NCAA success to the table than any other EKU qualifier. He finished fourth in the steeplechase at the East Region Championships last season with a personal-best time of 8:34.0, and earned second team All-America honors after finishing 11th at the NCAA Championships in Oregon. This season, he has run 8:51.9 and he took silver at the OVC Championships last weekend. He comes into the regional meet ranked 17th in the event.
Boschan – Boschan clocked a personal-best and regional-qualifying time of 16:20.9 for 5,000 meters at the Virginia Challenge on April 22. That puts her at No. 4 all-time at EKU in the outdoor 5,000 meters. She enters the regional meet ranked No. 33 in the event. This is her first appearance at an NCAA regional meet.
Claitt – The Lexington native will be competing in his hometown as the No. 1 high jumper in the region and country with a leap of 7-5.75, which he recorded at WKU’s Hilltopper Relays on April 8. That jump shattered EKU’s 35-year old record in the event and it currently ranks 11th in the world. Claitt became the first EKU man ever to be voted OVC Male Field Athlete of the Year and he won gold in the high jump for the second straight year at the OVC Outdoor Championships on May 12. Claitt finished 16th in the high jump at the NCAA East Regional in Jacksonville, Florida last year as a freshman (7-1.5).
Coleman – The junior from northern England was voted the OVC Male Track Athlete of the Year, and he ran like it at the OVC Outdoor Championships last weekend in Alabama. Coleman cruised to victory in both the steeplechase and 1,500 meters. He currently ranks fourth in the region and seventh in the country in the steeplechase with a personal-best time of 8:42.8, which he ran at the Virginia Challenge on April 22. Coleman finished 19th in the steeplechase at the NCAA East Regional last year as a sophomore.
Imer – Imer became the first EKU woman ever to run a sub-16:00 5,000 meters when she shattered the school record with a 15:59.3 at the Stanford Invitational on March 31. She was voted the OVC Female Track Athlete of the Year and backed it up by winning gold in the 5K at the OVC Outdoor Championships last weekend in Alabama. The native of Melbourne, Australia enters the meet ranked eighth in the region and 29th in the country in the 5,000 meters. Imer placed 35th in the 5,000 meters at the regional meet last year as a sophomore.
Luna – Luna scorched his way to a personal-best 13:54.1 in the 5,000 meters at the Virginia Challenge on April 21. That ranks the senior from Santa Rosa, California 10th in the region in the event. Luna will look to improve on his regional performance from last spring, when he finished 38th overall in 14:56.6.
Erick Rotich – Rotich was one of the final qualifiers in the 5,000 meters, coming in at No. 39 with a time of 14:08.5, which he ran at the Raleigh Relays all the way back on March 24. The 2016 OVC Male Cross Country Runner of the Year will also look to improve on last spring’s regional performance, when he placed 32nd overall in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:43.0.
Nickson Rotich – Rotich qualified for regionals with a 1:49.5 in the 800 meters at the Lenny Lyles/Clark Wood Invitational in Louisville on April 28. That is the fourth-fastest half-mile time in EKU history. Rotich was the 2017 OVC Indoor Male Freshman of the Year and he took bronze in the 800 at the OVC Outdoor Championships last weekend in Alabama. He comes into the meet ranked 37th in the region in the event. This will be his first NCAA regional appearance.
Yost – The junior from New Tripoli, Pennsylvania enters the regional meet riding a wave of momentum. She was named the OVC Female Track Athlete of the Week after winning the 800 meters at the Kentucky Relays on May 6. She followed that up by taking gold in both the 1,500 meters and 800 meters at the OVC Outdoor Championships in Alabama. Her 800 meters time in the OVC preliminaries was a personal-best 2:08.1, which ranks her 45th in the region. Yost will also be running the metric mile at regionals. She ranks 40th in that event with a 4:23.0, which she clocked at the Lenny Lyles/Clark Wood Invite in Louisville in late April.
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