KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan will be represented in eight events at the NCAA East Preliminary Championships at the University of North Florida beginning Thursday.
The Broncos will have student-athletes competing in the 400 meter dash, 400 meter hurdles, 800 meter run, 10k, 4x400 meter relay, triple jump, shot put and discus. To qualify, individuals must have finished ranked in the top 48 of the East Regional, while relay teams must have finished in the top 24. The top 12 from each event move on the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake University beginning June 6.
Sophomore thrower Andrea Hiler is the only Bronco to be competing in more than one individual event. The Second Team All-MAC selection will compete in the shot put at 1 p.m. on Thursday and the discus at 3 p.m. on Friday. Hiler ranks 39th in the shot put with a season-best distance of 15.16m/49-9. The Watervliet, Mich., native ranks 12th in the region in the discus with her school-record distance of 52.53m/172-4.
The only other field competitor for Western Michigan is sophomore jumper Chiara Allen. Allen competes in the triple jump on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The Lake Orion, Mich., native finished in second place at the MAC Championships in the triple jump and holds a seed distance of 12.56m/41-2.50, which is also the WMU school record.
Iris Campbell competes in the 400 meter hurdles at 5 p.m. on Thursday. The reigning MAC Championship Most Outstanding Track Performer ranks 28th with a seed time of 59.26 seconds. Campbell competed at the NCAA East Preliminaries last season, advancing to the NCAA Championship after finishing 12th in qualifying.
Campbell, along with Victoria Chatman, Andrea Arnold and Leya Munwam will represent WMU in the 4x400 meter relay on Saturday night at 9:45 p.m. The relay team boasts a seed time of 3:38.32 and ranks 19th in the region. Based on seed times the Broncos could need to run a sub-3:37 time to advance.
Chatman also competes on Friday evening in the first round of the 400 meter dash preliminaries at 7:45 p.m. Chatman is currently ranked 20th and must finish in the top 24 to move on to Friday's quarterfinals. From then if she finishes in the top 12 she will move on to the NCAA Championships. The senior's seed time of 53.28 is just .28 shy of the 12th fastest mark in the region.
The 800 meter run is the only event in which the Broncos will have multiple individuals competing. Sophomore Aisha Hodge and junior Rachel Whitley will both compete in the first round of qualifying on Friday night. Hodge's seed time of 2:07.39 ranks 32nd, while Whitley ranks 43rd. Hodge, who's time is a personal-best and the third fastest in program history, finished runner up in the 800 at the MAC Championship and was named Second Team All-MAC.
Senior Samantha Draney closes down competition on Friday with the 10k at 9:40 p.m. Draney, who holds the school record in the event, was the last athlete in and holds the 48th qualifying position with a time of 35:34.83.