March 10, 2009
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis track and field team sends a pair of representatives to the 2009 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships as junior Steffen Nerdal in the weight throw and senior Sivan Aballi in the shot put were selections to compete in the championships field.
"I am just ecstatic for these two athletes," said head coach Kevin Robinson. "I am proud of what both Steffen (Nerdal) and Sivan (Aballi) have been able to accomplish thus far and my hopes are that they continue to put up phenomenal marks."
The NCAA Indoor Championships are hosted by Texas A&M in College Station, Texas and will take place Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14. Both Nerdal and Aballi compete on Saturday with the women's shot put trials beginning at 3:45 p.m. and the men's weight throw trials commencing at 5:00 p.m. Both events' finals take place immediately following the trials.
Nerdal is the seventh seed in the field of 14 men's weight throwers. The Norwegian native threw a career best toss in the weight throw of 21.56m (70-09.00) at the Rod McCravy Invitational on Feb. 6, breaking his own school record from 2008 in the event. Nerdal won the weight throw event at the 2009 C-USA Indoor Championships in Houston, Texas and earned the C-USA Indoor Championship Performance of the Meet award for his mark of 21.55m (70-08.50).
"Steffen has performed at a remarkable level all year long, and now we get to see what he can do against the best in the best athletes in the NCAA," said Robinson.
Aballi is the final qualifying seed in the field of 16 shot put throwers. The Israeli native threw a career best indoor mark in the shot put of 16.03m (52-07.25) at the Rod McCravy Invitational on Feb. 6. Aballi won the shot put title at the 2009 C-USA Indoor Championships in Houston, Texas on Feb 28 with a mark of 15.77m (51-09.00).
"Sivan has really stepped up in this her senior year," said Robinson. "She brought home her first individual CUSA championship this year, and now she gets to compete in the first NCAA Indoor championship of her career."
Both Aaron Whetstone and Aaron Evans achieved NCAA provisional qualifying marks for the Tigers in 2009, but were not selected as participants at the 2009 NCAA Indoor Championships. Whetstone recorded a career best mark in the triple jump of 15.56m (51-00.75) at the Arkansas Last Chance Meet on March 6. Evans also recorded a career best mark in the 800m run with a time of 1:49.02 at the same meet.
"I know that the NCAA Indoor Championship is incredibly difficult to get into and I am very proud of these two athletes," said Robinson. "I also want to congratulate both Aaron Evans and Aaron Whetstone who both came very close to making this meet as well. Both qualified, but fell short of making the cut. Unfortunately, Evans was just the cut-off man and needed to run just .01 faster in the 800m to make it in."