May 23, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - Baylor's track and field team had throwers Erin Atkinson and Desmine Hilliard punch their tickets to the NCAA Championships, while seven of its other 13 entries qualified for the second round at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds on Thursday.
"I thought we had a really good day on the track," head coach Todd Harbour said. "We are proud of Erin and Desmine for each earning a spot in the NCAAs. They've been so consistent for us, and that's a big accomplishment. I'm excited for tomorrow with the amount we had qualify today."
Atkinson claimed a spot at the Finals site by taking ninth in the hammer throw. The junior recorded her best throw of the day on her first attempt with a mark of 203-4 [61.99m]. It is Atkinson's first berth into the outdoor national meet.
"It wasn't really a good day for me distance-wise, but I was really happy I qualified for nationals," Atkinson said. "That was the main goal for today, so I am happy with it. I have some technical stuff I need to work on this week in practice."
Hilliard, a sophomore, came into the day with the 17th-best throw in the region, but did just enough to get into the event finals and then on his second of three throws in the finals produced a heave of 185-0 [56.40m] to place 10th overall.
"It was just a great day for me," Hilliard said. "I just buckled down and decided I was going to make the most of being in the finals."
In events from 100 meters up to 800 meters, including the hurdles, runners could qualify for the second round by finishing in the top three of one of the six heats or finish as one of the next six fastest times. In the second round, competitors will be looking for a top-12 finish, which is needed to make the NCAA finals site.
Ashley Fields got into the second round with a career-best time of 11.46 in the 100 meters. After a slow start, the redshirt freshman closed strong to place fourth in her heat.
In the 400 meters, Blake Heriot passed five runners on the homestretch to finish win his heat with a time of 46.61 and qualify for the second round automatically. In the first 400-meter heat, senior Justin Allen tallied a personal-best time of 46.67 to place fourth in his heat. Overall, Heriot's time was the fifth fastest, while Allen's was tied for the 16th fastest. On the women's side, Raena Rhone took fifth in her heat, but still qualified based on time with a mark of 53.61.
In the final event of the night for BU, freshman Olicia Williams calmly secured a spot in Friday's second round by taking second in her heat of the 800 meters in a time of 2:06.92. Williams was the nice fastest time overall at the event.
Senior Christina Holland was the first on the track to qualify for Baylor, turning in a solid time of 58.32 in the 400-hurdles to place second in her heat and earn an automatic qualification. The time placed Holland eighth overall on the day.
In the 1,500 meters, Mariah Kelly was in one of the fastest heats of the day and although she finished sixth, the Canadian product qualified on time in 4:23.35.
Baylor will be back on the track at Mike A. Myers Stadium on Friday for the second day of the three-day NCAA West Preliminary Rounds competition. Field events begin at noon, and running events are set to start at 5 p.m.
COMPLETE BAYLOR RESULTS
Q or q = Advanced to Second Round
(placing based on heat finish, not overall result)
** = Advanced to NCAA Finals site
22. Raena Rhone (SO) - 53.61q
31. Idia Omogiate (SR) - 54.44
5. Blake Heriot (JR) - 46.61Q
20. Justin Allen (SR) - 46.67q (career best)
29. Isaiah Duke (FR) - 47.28
30. Drew Seale (SR) - 47.29
8. Olicia Williams (FR) - 2:06.92q
48. Brittany OgunMokun (SR) - 2:17.52
30. Gavyn Nero (SR) - 1:50.61
22. Mariah Kelly (SO) - 4:23.35q
10. Desmine Hilliard (SO) - 185-0 [56.40m]**
9. Erin Atkinson (JR) - 203-4 [61.99m]**