JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Alabama qualified six for next month’s NCAA track and field championships during day one of the East Preliminary in Jacksonville, Fla., on Thursday, while eight others moved on to Friday’s quarterfinals.
“It was a very good start to the meet for us,” UA head coach Dan Waters said. “We missed on a couple of events, but overall I’m pleased with how we got things going. Now we just have to keep our foot on the gas and keep things rolling tomorrow and throughout the weekend.”
The top-12 finishers in each event earn a berth to the national championships, which will be held in Austin, Texas in June.
The Crimson Tide opened the day with a pair of throwers earning a spot in the national championship field in the East Preliminary’s first two events, with freshman Bobby Colantonio Jr. moving on in the men’s hammer throw and sophomore Samantha Zelden advancing in the women’s javelin. Calantonio Jr. used a toss of 218-8 (66.65m), while Zelden posted a heave of 166-3 (50.67m).
The high jump duo of senior Stacey Destin and junior Abigail Kwarteng both snagged NCAA championship berths. Destin cleared a season-best 5-10.75 (1.80m), while Kwarteng made it over the 5-8.75 (1.75m) bar to make it to Austin.
In the last field event of the day, senior Kiara Williams punched her ticket for Austin with a leap of 20-2.5 (6.16m) in the long jump. Senior Gilbert Kigen used a Hodges Stadium record of 28:51.11 to win the men’s 10,000 meters and advance to Austin and the national championships in the day’s last event.
In the sprints, the Tide was one of two schools to advance three women to the 100-meter quarterfinals, and the only program to advance three women to the 400-meter quarterfinals. Sophomore Tamara Clark (11.44), junior Mauricia Prieto (11.50) and sophomore Daija Lampkin (11.56) moved on to the 100-meter quarterfinals, while juniors Natassha McDonald (52.63), Katie Funcheon (52.89) and Takyera Roberson (52.93) all made the 400-meter quarterfinals. Funcheon’s mark was a personal best.
Senior Keitavious Walter (10.31) moved on to the quarterfinals of the men’s 100 meters, while junior Robert Dunning advanced to the quarterfinals of the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a career-best mark of 51.02.
In addition to quarterfinal races in the men’s and women’s 100 and 400 meters and the men’s 400-meter hurdles, Alabama will compete in the men’s and women’s discus, the men’s javelin, the men’s 110-meter hurdles and the men’s and women’s 200 meters on Friday.