EMU - Men's Track and Field Qualifies Six More Eagles to NCAA Championships
Provided by EMU
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (EMUEagles.com)—Eastern Michigan University's men's track and field team completed the third day of the NCAA East Regional on a particularly strong note, sending five total athletes to the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., June 11-14. With the completion of the regional meet, the Eagles will have representation in the 4x400m relay, 1500m run, triple jump, and pole vault.
Following the recent trend of weather delays, the pole vault competition got underway at 2:15 p.m. It did not take long for senior Max Babits (Howell, Mich.-Fowlerville) to stand out from the crowd, earning the fifth seed with a vault of 5.32 meters/17 feet 5.50-inches. Babits cleared the height with ease, but did not need to attempt a greater height due to the rest of the field, save for the qualifiers, being eliminated from contention. With his ticket punched to Eugene, Babits is the only member of the Green and White to qualify for the national championships in both the indoor and outdoor campaigns this year, as the Howell, Mich. native earned All-American honors in March.
The next event was also contested in the field, but resulted in a quick elimination for Aaron Benton (Dryden, Mich.-Almont) in the high jump. Benton cleared the initial height of 2.00 meters/6 feet 6.75-inches, but was unable to move on to the next stage of the competition, falling in all three of his attempts at 2.05 meters/6 feet 8.75-inches.
Success did not follow in the first track event, as the team of Cameron Bolton (Missouri City, Texas-Hightower), Tyler Brown (Findlay, Ohio-Findlay), Jeff Elam (Latrobe, Pa.-Greater Latrobe Senior) and Chris Scott (Holt, Mich.-Holt) ran an admirable time of 40.10 in the 4x100m relay, but fell to 19th in a fiercely competitive field.
The track was kinder to the next Eagle to run; Grzegorz Kalinowski (Torun, Poland-Nicolaus Copernicus University) mustered a qualifying mark in the 1500m run to give the senior his first NCAA Championships appearance of his career. Kalinowski had competed in the previous two regional meets, but had come up just short in his efforts to make it to Eugene. This year, he was able to finish in a time of 3:45.89 to grab a qualifying spot. The field in the event was so hotly-contested that every one of the qualifying times fell within a margin of just over three-quarters of a second, while the final qualifier edged out the 13th-place runner by one-hundredth of a second.
In the ensuing event, Willy Fink (Maumee, Ohio-Maumee) and Harry Dixon (Nelson, New Zealand-Nayland College) were unable to replicate their strong performance at the Mid-American Conference Championships in the 5000m run. Fink paced Dixon, finishing in 14:58.55 ahead of his teammate's mark of 15:40.65.
The Green and White was able to finish the NCAA East Regional on a high note thanks to Bolton, Brown, Elam, and Mason Waynes (Kenosha, Wis.-Bradford). The quartet of runners took third in their heat to secure a qualifying mark in the 4x400m relay, crossing the line at 3:05.93. The time ranks second in EMU laurels behind only the 1988 lineup of Dazel Jules, Willie Jenkins, Chuck Wilson, and Carl Johnson, which went on to take fourth at the NCAA Championships.
Head Coach John Goodridge remarked on the support and enthusiasm that he and the team received throughout the three days of the NCAA East Regional. "Throughout the entire meet, right up to leaving the stadium after the 4x400m, coaching friends from around the country were offering congratulations on how well this team has performed throughout the year and during this competiton," explained Goodridge. "My staff and I are so proud and appreciative of these guys, and all are eager to compete at the NCAA National Championships."
Babits, Bolton, Brown, Elam, Kalinowski, and Waynes will be joined at the NCAA Championships by Donald Scott (Apopka, Fla.-Apopka), who notched the second NCAA-qualifying mark of his career in the triple jump yesterday. The seven athletes will have nearly two weeks in preparation before heading to Oregon for the four-day event, June 11-14.
EMU Individual Results (Q represents NCAA Championships qualifying mark)
19. Bolton, Brown, Elam, Scott 40.10
1500m Run Quarterfinal
8. Kalinowski, Grzegorz 3:45.89Q
39. Fink, Willy 14:58.55
44. Dixon, Harry 15:40.65
10. Bolton, Brown, Elam, Waynes 3:05.93Q
5. Babits, Max 5.32m/17-05.50
41. Benton, Aaron 2.00m/6-06.75