Track & Field Sends 18 To NCAA East Preliminary
Chris Littleton

May 23, 2012

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CINCINNATI - Eighteen University of Cincinnati track and field student-athletes will be in action this weekend during the 2012 NCAA Division I Track & Field East Preliminary Round running from Thursday, May 24 to Saturday, May 26 at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.

Qualifying teams and individuals advance to the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships inside Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on June 6-9, 2012. The semifinals and finals for each event will take place in Des Moines with the top-12 competitors out of the 48 participating in each event at the preliminary round advancing to the NCAA Championship.

The women’s 12 individual qualifiers include: Frida Akerstrom (shot put), Mary Bridges (discus), Michelle Eby (pole vault), Mackenzie Fields (pole vault), Danheisha Harding (100 hurdles), Kathy Klump (800 meters), Emelie Larsson (javelin), Jessica Molyet (discus) and Shanay Portis (100 & 200 meters). Pole vaulter Sarah Rasnick, the 2012 BIG EAST Conference Indoor Champion, was also among the qualifiers but withdrew due to injury.

UC also qualified the 4x400 relay team of Portis, Jalisa Jarrett, Aricka Rhodes and Klump, who jumped 28 slots on the descending order list with a strong effort at the Virginia Challenge. Kaitlyn Good is also at the meet as a relay alternate.

Jasmine Cotten will be part of a 24-student-athlete field in the heptathlon that advances directly to the NCAA Championship on June 7-8 at Drake Stadium.

The men’s team qualified six individuals in seven events, including: Josh Dangel (pole vault), Jake Haseman (discus), Chris Littleton (discus & shot put), Dailyn Moore (110 hurdles), Michael Rutherford (800 meters) and Brian Zimmerman (javelin).

Thursday events include the 100 meters, 800 meters, javelin, men's discus and women’s shot put.

Portis will run in heat three of the 100-meter preliminaries, starting in lane six with her qualifying time of 11.57, which was achieved in the preliminary round at the BIG EAST Conference Championship. Portis enters the meet with the 34th-best time in the East.

Klump, who will run in heat three of the 800 prelims, earned a third-place at the BIG EAST Outdoor meet with her clocking of 2:04.70 in the 800 meters. The 2012 BIG EAST Indoor Champion and USTFCCCA First-Team Indoor All-American has the 12th-best time in the East region entering the meet.

Akerstrom will be slotted in flight two of the preliminaries in the women’s shot put. She has a season-best mark of 15.55m (51-00.25), set at the recent BIG EAST Outdoor Championships and is ranked 28th in the East.

Larsson, a true freshman, will compete in flight three of the javelin preliminaries. Already the UC record holder, she holds a season-best throw of 50.59m (166-00), which ranks her tied for the fourth-best throw in the region this season.

Rutherford ran a personal-best 1:50.12 in the 800 prelims at the BIG EAST Championship to earn his spot in the meet. He holds the 54th-best time in the East this season and will run in the third of six preliminary heats in Jacksonville.

Littleton, who will compete in discus Thursday and shot put Saturday, has a season-best throw of 54.66m (179-04) in the discus. He has the 13th-best mark in the region in the discus. Littleton will compete in the third flight of the discus preliminaries.

Haseman threw 54.08m (177-05) in the discus at the USF Collegiate Invitational on April 6, 2012, his best effort of the season in the event. He holds the 17th-best throw among East student-athletes and will be slotted in flight three with Littleton.

Friday will feature the 100 hurdles, quarterfinals for the 100 and 800 meters, the 200 meters, hammer, women's pole vault and women's discus.

Saturday will feature the quarterfinals for the 100 hurdles and 200 meters, the 4x400 relay, men's pole vault, and the men's shot put.