Bronco Track & Field Sends Four to NCAA East Preliminaries
To qualify they needed to finish the regular season ranked in the top 48 in their event. Iris Campbell (Emmett, Mich./Yale High School) qualified to run in the 400-meter hurdles and heads to the meet ranked 16th in the region with a qualifying time of 58.44 seconds. This is the fourth time that Campbell has qualified in the event in her career. She will compete on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. during the first round of qualifiers and then the quarterfinals on Friday evening. If she finishes in the top 12 she will advance to the semifinals at the NCAA Championships beginning June 5.
“I’m very excited to see where she finishes up this year,” said head coach Kelly Lycan. “If she can get to 57 seconds then I think she has a pretty good chance of moving on to Eugene (Oregon).”
Campbell also qualified for the 200-meter dash but due to the scheduling conflict with the 400-meter hurdles decided to compete in just the one event.
Junior Andrea Arnold (Maple Heights, Ohio/Maple Heights High School) qualified for the 400-meter dash with the 44th best time of the region at 54.32 seconds. Arnold ran her personal-best time at the MAC Championship. Arnold, who qualified for the event during her freshman year, competes in the first round on Thursday evening at 7:20 p.m., while the quarterfinals are on Friday at 6 p.m.
“Andrea really finished off the season well,” added Lycan. “ We are excited and think she could break the big 54-second barrier and we haven’t had many under 54 in our history.”
Fellow junior Aisha Hodge (Bangor, Mich./Bangor High School) returns to the East Preliminary Championships for the second-straight season in the 800-meter run. Hodge qualified with the 42nd best time of 2:08 but is just under two seconds away from a top 16 position. She comes off of her best performance of the season after taking second at hte MAC Champoinship and being named Second Team All-MAC. Hodge was also the MAC Indoor 800-meter champion and competes on Thursday night at 8:10 p.m. in the first round.
Andrea Hiler (Watervliet, Mich./Watervliet High School) will be the lone Bronco competing in two events on the week after qualifying in the shot put and the discus. Hiler, a junior, has qualified for the East Preliminary each year at Western Michigan in the discus and comes in with the 44th ranked distance of 49.26 meters (151-9). She is ranked 46th in the shot put with a distance of 14.79 meters (48-6.25). Hiler competes in the discus at 3:30 p.m. and then the shot put on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Just narrowly missing a berth to the NCAA Championships, because there is no regional heptathlon competition, was sophomore Kathryn Pickett. Pickett shattered the program record in the heptathlon after taking second place at the MAC Championship with 5,329 points. She missed the final 24 by just 60 points.