JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Alabama track and field team qualified five for next month’s NCAA track and field championships on day two of the East Preliminary in Jacksonville, Fla., Friday, bumping its two-day total to 11.
“It was another good day for us,” UA head coach Dan Waters said. “It’s all about survive and advance this weekend and so far, for the most part, we’ve done a good job of that. We had some pretty significant PRs today and got five more to Austin and the national championships. Now we need to go out tomorrow and not let up, we need to finish strong.”
The top-12 finishers in each event at the East Preliminary earn berths to the national championships, which will be held in Austin, Texas in June.
Junior Robert Dunning, who was 33rd in the East coming into the weekend, posted his third consecutive career-best time in the 400-meter hurdles to take fourth overall and advance to Austin, running a 50.24 in the quarterfinals. In addition to making it to the NCAA Championships in the 400m hurdles, Dunning also earned a place in Saturday’s quarterfinals of the 110-meter hurdles after turning in a time of 13.74.
Senior Kord Ferguson punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships in the discus two weeks after winning the Southeastern Conference title in the event. He posted a mark of 196-9 (59.97m) to take second in the East.
Juniors Natassha McDonald and Katie Funcheon both ran personal-best times in the women’s 400 meters to advance to the national championships. McDonald went 51.73, more than a half second better than her pervious best, while Funcheon went 52.49, shaving four-tenths of a second off her previous career-best, which came on Thursday. Sophomore Tamara Clark ran a 11.24 to earn her spot at nationals in the women’s 100 meters.
Clark, Dunning, Ferguson, Funcheon and McDonald join the Tide’s day-one NCAA Championships qualifiers: freshman Bobby Colantonio Jr. (men’s hammer throw), sophomore Samantha Zelden (women’s javelin), senior Stacey Destin (women’s high jump), junior Abigail Kwarteng (women’s high jump), senior Kiara Williams (women’s long jump) and senior Gilbert Kigen (men’s 10,000 meters).
In addition to Dunning in the 110-meter hurdles, Clark (23.01), junior Mauricia Prieto (23.12) and sophomore Daija Lampkin (23.15) all advanced to the quarterfinals of the women’s 200 meters, while senior Keitavious Walter advanced to the men’s 200-meters quarterfinals with a time of 20.73.
The Tide closes the East Preliminary on Saturday with the quarterfinals of the men’s 110-meter hurdles and the men’s and women’s 200 meters, as well as the men’s and women’s shot put, triple jump, 5,000 meters, men’s high jump and the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relays.