TERRE HAUTE —
On the heels of their thrilling double victory at the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships both the Indiana State men and women moved up in the national rankings which were released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
Indiana State will send a record 22 athletes to compete in the NCAA East Preliminary at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, where action begins Thursday. The top 12 individuals from each preliminary site advance to the NCAA Finals.
The Sycamore women won their first MVC championship since 1999 in dramatic fashion as they captured the title by winning the final event (1,600 meter relay) on Sunday.
Indiana State moved up three notches in the national rankings as they are 37th which is their second highest placement for week seven since the current system was established in 2008. The Sycamores were 16th in the nation during week seen of the 2010 season.
The Indiana State men dominated the final day of competition in Des Moines, Iowa, and captured their third straight MVC outdoor championship. The Sycamores moved up five spots in the national rankings as they are now 63rd which is their highest ranking for week seven since the current system was established in 2008. The previous best was 64th during the 2012 campaign.
Illinois State is the top ranked women’s team from the Missouri Valley Conference as they moved into the top 25 for the first time this season. Wichita State dropped out of the 25 and are now 26th followed by Indiana State in 37th. Notre Dame is still the top school among major universities in Indiana despite falling 11 spots to 29th. The Sycamores are next at 37th with Indiana 59th, Butler 66th, and Purdue 77th. Loyola, who will join the Missouri Valley for the 2014 season, remained 78th.
Justin Applegate, Dustin Betz, Derek Bunch, Chris Fields, Jonathan Jackson, Maurice Lyke, John Mascari, Brandon Pounds, Arqeil Shaw, Greggmar Swift, and Max Tuttle have qualified for the men’s NCAA East Preliminary Round.
Nicole Hope, Felisha Johnson, Richelle Kimble, Leeann Michl, Kimyanna Rudolph, Shalesa Smith, Stacia Weatherford, and Katie Wise have qualified for the women’s NCAA East Preliminary Round along the 4x100 meter relay team of Kaisha Martin, Macey Black, Demetra Camble, and Wise.
Five hurdlers have already qualified for the men’s East Preliminary including Greggmar Swift and Maurice Lyke in the 110 meter hurdles and Jonathan Jackson, Max Tuttle, and Arqeil Shaw in the 400 meter hurdles.
Swift is making his third straight trip to the NCAAs as he enters the post-season with the eighth fastest 110 meter hurdle time in the nation of 13.52 seconds that he ran in winning the 2013 MVC title. The junior also ranks fourth on the East performance list. He finished 10th in the event at the 2012 NCAA Finals and missed a trip to the 2011 finals by a hundredth of a second.
Lyke will be making his second straight trip to the NCAAs and will compete in two events at the East Preliminary. The junior ranks 26th in the nation and 13th on the East performance list in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 13.83 seconds that he ran at the Billy Hayes Invitational. He finished 28th in the first round of the East Preliminary in 2012. He will also be competing in the long jump after winning the 2013 MVC title with a leap of 24’-53⁄4” (7.46m). The distance ranks 64th in the nation and 27th on the East performance list.
Three members of the women’s team will be competing on the track at the East Preliminary including Leeann Michl, Katie Wise and Stacia Weatherford.
Michl will be making her second straight appearance in the NCAAs with a season best time of 2:07.91 in the 800 meters at the Auburn Tiger Track Classic. The senior’s time currently ranks 102nd in the nation and 40th on the declared entries list for the East Preliminaries. She came close to advancing to the NCAA Finals in 2012 with a 15th place finish in the quarterfinals at the East Preliminary. The top 12 advanced to the NCAA Finals.
Wise will be making her first trip to the NCAAs after winning the 100 meters at the 2013 MVC Championship with a season best time of 11.41 seconds which ranks 26th in the nation and is ninth on the East performance list. The freshman is also the Valley’s indoor 60 meter champion marking the first time since Jeanne Middleton in 2009 that a Sycamore has won both the indoor and outdoor sprint races. She also has a season best time of 23.92 seconds in the 200 meters while running the event only twice and both at the MVC Championships where she finished fifth overall. She missed making the cut for that event by just one hundredth of a second.
Weatherford will be making her second trip to the NCAAs after qualifying in both hurdle events for the 2013 East Preliminary. The senior ran 57.62 seconds to win the 400 meter title at the 2013 MVC Championship which ranks as the 15th fastest time in the nation and sixth on the East preliminary performance list. She competed in the event at the 2012 NCAAs and finished 19th at the NCAA Finals. She also qualified for the 100 meters hurdles after running 13.55 and finishing second at the MVC Championships but will be bypassing that event to concentrate on the 400 meter hurdles.
Also competing on the track will be the Sycamore 4x100 meter relay team which won the MVC title with a time of 45.16 seconds. Kaisha Martin, Macey Black, Demetra Camble, and Wise make up the relay which recorded the third fastest finish in Indiana State history. The team ranks 64th in the nation and 15th on the East performance list. The last relay that made the NCAAs was in 2010 when Erica Moore, Lauren Martin, Michl, and Weatherford ran the 4x400 meter relay and finished 19th at the East Preliminary.
Three pole vaulters, a jumper and a thrower have also qualified for the East Preliminary from the Sycamore track & field team including Nicole Hope, Kimyanna Rudolph, Richelle Kimble, Shalesa Smith, and Felisha Johnson.
This will be Kimble’s fourth trip to the NCAAs in the pole vault as she qualified by clearing 13’-01⁄2” (3.97m) at the Billy Hayes Invitational. She just missed a spot at the NCAA Finals a year ago with a 14th place finish in the 2012 East Preliminary. The senior ranks 64th in the nation and 30th on the East performance list for the event. She was second at the 2013 MVC Championships.