Four Tigers Unable to Qualify at Last Chance Qualifier
March 5, 2010
Fayetteville, Ark. - Four University of Memphis track and field athletes traveled to the University of Arkansas and the Randall Tyson Track Center on Friday hoping to improve performances in hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships next weekend.
Junior weight thrower Knut Syversen had thrown two NCAA provisional qualifying marks entering the last chance qualifier on Friday. Syversen was unable to top his season-best toss of 20.04m (65-09.00) as he finished second among the competitors in the meet with a toss of 19.65m (64-07.75).
After setting or breaking the University of Memphis indoor pole vault record five times this season, sophomore pole vaulter Karlis Pujats hoped to improve on his school record and personal-best vault of 5.21m (17-01.00) with his last opportunity better the provisional qualifying mark. Pujats vaulted 5.10m (16-08.75) and finished fifth in the meet, but was unable to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Freshmen distance runners Brieuc Vandeleene and Abdi Guleed traveled to the last chance qualifier on Friday as well, but the duo had different hopes. Head coach Kevin Robinson wanted to see the freshmen improve their season-best marks in the 800m run with some of the best competitors of the indoor season.
Vandeleene did what Robinson asked for by posting a season-best 800m time of 1:53.94. With a time of 1:55.61 in the 800m, Guleed also improved his indoor season-best. Vandeleene and Guleed joined the Tigers in January and expect to play a large role in the success the Tigers have during the outdoor season.
Two-time All-American Steffen Nerdal has qualified for his second-straight appearance in the NCAA Indoor Championships. Nerdal finished second last season and will vie for the NCAA National Championship in the weight throw next weekend in Fayetteville, Ark.
The remaining Tigers will shift their focus to the outdoor schedule which begins March 20 in Memphis, Tenn. at the Rhodes Open.