UDM - Cashner, Parris Cap Standout Seasons at NCAA East Prelims

UDM - Cashner, Parris Cap Standout Seasons at NCAA East Prelims

Provided by UDM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (5/28/2015) -- University of Detroit Mercy men's track and field standouts Colin Cashner (St. Louis, Mo. / St. Mary's) and Khalil Parris (Windsor, Ont. / Sandwich) capped off record-setting seasons Thursday afternoon at the 2015 NCAA East Preliminary Round, held on the campus of the University of North Florida.

Cashner earned the top finish for a Detroit men's track and field student-athlete at the NCAA Preliminary Round since its inception in 2010 by placing 16th out of 48 competitors in the hammer. He finished just four spots out of qualifying for the NCAA finals with his throw of 208' 1"/63.43 meters.

"It's a bittersweet finish to an amazing season" UDM head coach Guy Murray '89 said. "Hard not to be disappointed as this season feels like one that should end with a NCAA finals qualifier. However, he had a solid series in a very tough field featuring the defending NCAA champ and 11 of 12 qualifiers from the previous year. There's nothing to be disappointed with his finish in this field after all of his hard work and efforts. Colin has come a long way in four years from a walk-on who had never thrown a hammer. The best news is, he gets another attempt next year."

Cashner improved upon his 33rd-place finish in the hammer in his first NCAA Semifinal appearance last year. Throwing in the third and final heat with several of the top throwers in the region, Cashner reached his best throw of the day of 208' 1"/63.43 meters on his first heave and was in 10th place overall after the first round.

He landed all three of his hammer attempts with his first throw being his longest distance of the day. His second throw landed at 205' 0"/62.49 and he earned a throw of 202' 8"/61.79m on his final toss. He was in 14th place after his second throw and finished 16th overall, just three feet out of a qualifying spot to the NCAA Finals.

Cashner, the 2015 Horizon League Outdoor Athlete of the Year, finished the season with five victories in the hammer, including winning the Penn Relays with a school-record and event-record throw of 216' 0"/65.84 meters. Cashner also broke the Titan Field facility record during the season. He joined Lesley Hanna and Eric Lewis as two-time qualifiers for the NCAA East Preliminary Round.

Parris finished 25th out of 48 competitors in the 400-meter hurdles, just one spot out of qualifying for Friday's NCAA quarterfinal round. Competing in his first NCAA East Preliminary Round, Parris was fifth in his heat with a time of 52.07. Parris was just .08 seconds out of a qualifying spot and was in position for a spot in the quarterfinal round until the final heat of the event.

"It was another just miss for us with Khalil," Murray said. "After heat five, I thought he was going to make it, but heat six knew what they had to do and got it done. It's been a whirlwind of a month for Khalil, and he got himself to a new level a bit earlier than we might have thought. He is still learning the event and he has a very bright future. There have been a few too many close calls for us over the years in the regional format, but we will be back and it seems like it will be hard to keep us out of the NCAA finals next year."

Parris reached new heights in 2015, just his sophomore season, breaking a 17-year-old school-record in the 400m hurdles. He also set a PR in the 400-meter dash during the Horizon League Outdoor Championships. Parris' time of 51.02 in his final regular season meet is believed to be the best time in Horizon League history in the 400-meter hurdles.

It's the second-straight season that two Detroit men's track and field student-athletes have qualified for the NCAA East Preliminary Round. In 2014, Cashner and senior teammate Eric Lewis both qualified in the hammer.