NCAA Track and Field Regional Preview
May 28, 2009
The 2009 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Regional competitions are set to begin on Friday, May 29, at four campus sites across the country. Penn State will compete in the East Regional, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin will travel to the Mideast Regional, and Iowa and Minnesota will compete at the Midwest Regional.
The Nittany Lion men house six student-athletes who rank among the top 10 in their respective event. Fronting the group is senior triple jumper Clarence Smith (No. 3) and senior javelin thrower Tanner Evak (No. 4).
On the men’s side, Illinois will look to No. 1 ranked 110-meter hurdler Andrew Riley and Gakologelwang Masheto (No. 8 in 400m.) to advance to the NCAA Championships. Purdue’s Josh Hembrough sits No. 3 in the high-hurdles race, hoping to best Riley as he did in the conference meet. Hembrough’s teammate Eric Sparks owns the regional’s second-best pole vault mark with a clearance of 5.35m. Indiana’s Derek Drouin, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, has jumped the competitions second-best mark, hitting 2.19m. Michigan has its hopes in senior sprinter Adam Harris as he looks to double up in the 100 and 200 meters. Wolverine Carl Buchanon looks to advance in the 400-meter hurdles as he holds the Mideast’s third-best mark at 50.84. Distance events will be heavily participated in by Wisconsin student-athletes as Jack Bolas, Ryan Gasper, Craig Miller and Christian Wagner all rank among the top 10 in their respective events.
On the men’s side, four of the top eight shot putters come from the Big Ten as Minnesota’s Aaron Studt ranks No. 2. Following Studt is the Iowa duo of John Hickey (4th) and A.J. Curtis (7th) with Gopher Tyler Kleinhuizen in the No. 8 spot. Minnesota distance specialist Hassan Mead, the Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year, holds the top 5,000-meter time at 13:28.45. Teammate Matt Fisher looks to win the high jump competition as he has cleared the best mark at 2.25m.
Student-athletes qualified for regional competition by reaching standards established for each event or by earning automatic access as the conference event champion. The 10,000-meter run, decathlon and heptathlon are the only events in which qualifying is based on competition outside the regional championships.
The regional format is set up so the top five individuals and top three relay teams form each of the four sites will automatically qualify for the 2009 NCAA Championships, set to take place June 10-13 at the John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark. The University of Arkansas will host this year’s NCAA Championships.