Utah State Track & Field Athletes Ready to Compete in NCAA West Preliminary Championships
Eighteen student-athletes from Utah State's track & field program are set to compete in the NCAA West Preliminary Championships. The West Preliminaries, which are being hosted by Texas, will take place Thursday through Saturday, May 25-27, at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.
May 24, 2017

Daily Schedule | Thursday Field Event Heats | Thursday Track Event Heats | Heat Sheets

LOGAN, Utah - Eighteen student-athletes from Utah State's track & field program are set to compete in the NCAA West Preliminary Championships.

The West Preliminaries, which are being hosted by Texas, will take place Thursday through Saturday, May 25-27, at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas. The East Preliminaries are being held at the University of Kentucky Outdoor Track and Field Facility in Lexington, Ky.

"They're down here, they're excited and everybody has a shot to improve on their marks," said veteran Utah State head coach Gregg Gensel. "I've always told them, if they run what they did to get here, good things will happen, so I'm hoping that still holds true. We've got a lot of people that are fairly confident in what they can accomplish down here, and I'm looking forward to watching that happen."

Of the 18 Aggie qualifiers, a dozen come from the men's side and six more will represent the women's program. Athletes who ranked among the top-48 nationally in their respective event earned berths to the NCAA Preliminary Championships. For each relay event, the top-24 declared relay teams also qualified for the East and West prelims.

"I'm really excited to go back to Austin," said senior Tori Parkinson, who will be competing in the women's 3,000m steeplechase on Friday. "I went my sophomore year and it wasn't as good of an experience as I wanted because I got injured during my race, so I'm going back with a little chip on my shoulder and am excited to do really well. I love it in Austin and I like the heat, so I think I'm going to run really well in the heat. I'm just excited to have another opportunity to do the steeplechase."


 

 

These 18 Aggies are part of 140 student-athletes from the Mountain West making the trip to Austin. On the women's side, 83 MW student-athletes, along with five relay teams, qualified for the West Prelims, while 57 individuals and four relay teams will be competing on the men's side.

Overall, 17 women's participants and 15 individuals in the men's meet from the MW rank in the top-10 in their respective events. Additionally, three relay teams hold top-10 seedings. The field of the various events will be whittled down from 48 to 12 by the meet's end, with those 12 athletes or relay teams earning berths to the NCAA Outdoor Finals, which are being held June 7-10 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene. The qualifiers from the East Preliminary will round out the participants to contend at the Finals. Field events will kick off Thursday's action at 10 a.m. (MT) with the first round of the women's hammer and men's javelin, while track events are slated to begin at 3:30 p.m. (MT) with the women's 400-meter hurdles.

Eight Aggies will be competing on Thursday, including two in the men's javelin. Redshirt freshman Sindri Gudmundsson qualified with a school-record mark of 77.19m (253-03), which ranks fourth in the west and fifth nationally. Senior Devin Wright is making his fourth and final appearance in the West Prelims as he qualified with a personal-best mark of 67.84m (222-07) and is seeded 21st.

"I'm super excited," said Gudmundsson, a native of Kopavogur, Iceland. "I haven't been to Texas before, so it's going to be really fun. I'm really excited to throw against guys that are throwing even further than me."

The rest of Utah State's student-athletes competing on Thursday will be participating in track events.

Senior AJ Boully and sophomore Samuel Wing both qualified in the 400-meter hurdles and will compete in the first round of the event. Boully ranks sixth in the west (10th nationally) with a time of 49.58, which he set at the 90th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. Wing ranks 27th in the west (44th nationally) with an altitude-converted qualifying time of 51.46.

"Regionals is really fun because everybody probably takes it a little more seriously than nationals, honestly," Boully said. "It's kind of a do-or-die sort-of-thing and if you don't make it, you don't make it, and your options are ended right there. I'm really excited to go back, especially being seeded higher than I was last year. There is some really stiff competition, of course, but it's always just a great opportunity to run against good competition and prove yourself across the nation, really."

Junior Brady Martin and freshman Michael Bluth both qualified in the 400-meter dash and will compete in the first round of the event. Martin is seeded 27th in the west with a time of 46.52, while Bluth is seeded 41st with an altitude-converted time of 46.78.

Rounding out the Aggie men is junior Clay Lambourne, who will begin his quest for Eugene by competing in the first round of the 800m. He ranks sixth in the west (16th nationally) in the event with a personal-best time of 1:47.31.

On the women's side, junior Tylee Newman-Skinner is making her first appearance at the West Prelims and will be competing in the first round of the 1,500m. She is seeded 24th in the west with an altitude-converted time of 4:21.89.

Fans can follow the Utah State track & field programs at twitter.com/USUTF_XC, on Facebook at USUTrack and on Instagram at instagram.com/USUTF_XC. Aggies fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

ADDITIONAL QUOTES ON NCAA WEST PRELIMINARIES

Head coach Gregg Gensel
On what he is most looking forward to seeing from his 18 athletes at the West Prelims:
"I want them to compete like they belong here, because they do. They've worked hard all year. Some of them have been here before and accomplished some things last year, and I know all of those people want to improve on what they did last year, which is a distinct possibility. They've shown the confidence and the ability all year long, and I want them to continue that."

On the most important thing he wants his student-athletes to do:
"I want them to have fun. Like I said, they've worked hard all year and I want to see the fruit of their labors. The staff has done a great job of preparing them and they've done a great job of taking care of business up to this point. Now, it's just a matter of going out and having fun, and letting what happens, happen, because of the preparation they put into it."

Senior AJ Boully
On his goals and expectations for the West Prelims:
"Honestly, just moving forward to nationals. That is my primary goal right now and running a good time with our 4x400 relay team, as well. We have a great heat coming up."

Senior Tori Parkinson
On what she has to do to run well and make it through to Eugene:
"I'm going to have to stay hydrated, I need to drink constantly, keep my head in the game and not let the heat or humidity get to me. That is going to be a big thing because you can let that get to your head, but as long as I race well and compete, I have a good shot."

On the 18 Aggies, including eight distance runners, competing at the West Prelims:
"It will be fun. It keeps the energy up more and they understand what you're going through, and they can keep your mind off of the race when you think about it too much."

Junior Dillon Maggard
On his goals and expectations for the West Prelims:
"I just want to put myself in a position to win. (Oregon's Edward) Cheserek dropped out, so it kind of changed up the heats a little bit and I get to go up against (Colorado State's) Jefferson Abbey, who is in our conference. I'll be fresh this time, so I'm excited."

On the 18 Aggies, including eight distance runners, competing at the West Prelims:
"It feels really good. Our program has improved since I've been here. It's really exciting with Sindri (Gudmundsson) throwing. Clay (Lambourne) and Colby (Wilson) are coming back again, and Spencer (Fehlberg), in addition to Colby, for our steeplechase crew. It's exciting."

Redshirt freshman Sindri Gudmundsson
On how his performance at the Mountain West Championships prepare him for the West Prelims:
"It gives me a lot of confidence to get through. I feel like I can take a couple of throws and just be able to relax after that and say I'm through to the finals. That helps a lot and it makes it easier on my mind and on my body basically, too."

On his goals and expectations for the West Prelims:
"My goals are to take maybe three easy throws and just get through in a good place and get to nationals in Eugene."

-USU-

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