Sports

Stanford is sending 42 track athletes to NCAA West Prelims

 

Forty-two Stanford track and field athletes -- 21 men and 21 women -- plus two relay teams, have qualified for the NCAA West Prelims, the meet that determines the NCAA Championships field.

It marks the most individual qualifiers for Stanford since the same number advanced in 2011.

Including those in relays who were not individual qualifiers, Stanford most likely will have 45 compete in Lawrence, Kan., from May 26-28.

Two-time Pac-12 discus champ Valarie Allman is the only Cardinal to compete in more than one event in the Prelims. She'll go in the discus and hammer. There is no decathlon at the Prelims, so Harrison Williams secured a spot directly to NCAA's as Stanford's first qualifier. At the Prelims, he will run the 110-meter high hurdles and lead off the 4x400 relay.

The West regional is one of two in the country, along with one in Jacksonville, Fla. Athletes qualified by achieving the top 48 marks from each half of the country. The exceptions are the relays, in which 24 teams advanced. After scratches were determined, the fields were completed Thursday. The top 12 in each preliminary meet advance to the NCAA Championships, creating a 24-participant field for each event -- and 16 for the relay.

Athletes who complete their events at the NCAA Championships on June 8-11 in Eugene, will receive All-America honors.

Among the Stanford scratches for the Prelims were 3:53 miler Sean McGorty and freshman Grant Fisher, who each will bypass the 1,500 for the 5,000. Also, junior Malika Waschmann, an 800 specialist, will bypass that event for the 1,500, a distance she has raced only once in her life. Waschmann's 4:16.53 to win her section of the Stanford Invitational was the 11th-fastest time in the West.

Stanford has two No. 1 seeds – McGorty and Olivia Baker in the women's 800. If the seeds hold, Stanford would advance seven men, plus the 4x400 relay, and 10 women to Eugene.

Women's top 12 seeds are: Baker, No. 3 Vanessa Fraser (5,000), No. 4 Molly McNamara (1,500), No. 4 Mackenzie Little (javelin), No. 6 Claudia Saunders (800), No. 6 Elise Cranny (1,500), No. 7 Valarie Allman (discus), No. 7 Malika Waschmann (1,500), No. 9 Kristyn Williams (400), and No. 11 Rebecca Mehra (1,500). The women's 4x400 relay is seeded No. 9, but eight advance.

For the men, besides Williams in the decathlon and McGorty, top 12 seeds are No. 4 Justin Brinkley (1,500), No. 7 4x400 relay, No. 8 Grant Fisher (5,000), No. 10 Dartis Willis II (high jump), No. 12 Tom Coyle (1,500), and No. 12 Jack Keelan (5,000).

Stanford has two true freshmen qualifiers: Little and Fisher. Also, the event with the most Stanford representation is the women's 1500: Maddy Berkson, Elise Cranny, Molly McNamara, Rebecca Mehra, and Malika Waschmann. Also, there are four Cardinal men in the 5,000: McGorty, Fisher, Jack Keelan, and graduate student Collin Leibold.

The selections officially close the collegiate careers of these seniors who did not qualify and have no more eligibility, or chose not to exercise it: Nick Budincich (throws), Will Drinkwater (middle distance), Dan Emery (pole vault), three-time All-America Jim Rosa (distance), three-time All-America Joe Rosa (distance), and Miguel Shaw (sprints).

Distance runner Jack Bordoni will use his fifth season of eligibility at Georgia Tech as a graduate student studying human computer interaction.

— Stanford Athletics

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