The Captains had three Last Chance meets available to gain or solidify invitations to the National Championships. First up was Virginia Tech & Roanoke’s last-minute Twilight before the scheduled trip to Philadelphia for the Tuppeny Twilight at Swarthmore and the squad made good use of the opportunities.
Two School Records Fall In Qualifying Chase
Captains Secure Four Nationals Berths With Help From Strong Fields
Sophomore Richard Roethel (Farmingville, NY) was the only Captain assured of a trip to Nationals heading in to the Last Chance meets thanks to the Automatic Qualifier he posted in the Decathlon in March. Brittany Jacobs (Warrenton, VA) was high on the women’s Long Jump list, but was looking for some insurance. Dira Hansen (Culpeper, VA), Jenna Elliott (Fredericksburg, VA), and Kwarteng Asare (Fairfax, VA) had Provisional Qualifiers, too, but knew that they needed to improve to get in to the Championships. Several other Captains entered the week looking to grab their first qualifiers.
Virginia Tech and Roanoke teamed up to host a last-minute Thursday Night Twilight meet – and nearly had it washed out as a thunder storm delayed the start of the meet. The Tech coaches recruited several regional teams with mid-distance hopefuls to qualify their athletes to the new Div. I “super-regional”. Hansen took advantage to lower her School Record in the 800m to 2:14.81 in her first attempt at the distance since early April. The time put her close to the Provisional Standard, but confirmed that her best shot was still in the 400m Hurdles. Roethel continued his tune-up work for Nationals and cracked a PR in the 110m Hurdles. His 15.13 also moved him on to the CNU All-Time List in the event at #10. Kalee Hammerton (Royersford, PA) virtually matched her Pole Vault best (3.25m/10-7.75) before getting caught between poles at the next height. Elliott rolled through her early heights in the High Jump (1.62m/5-3.75) but couldn’t maintain her rhythm when the bar went up to 1.67m.
The Captains regrouped and headed north to Swarthmore College for the Tuppeny Twilight on the following Saturday. This time it was Matthew Winkler’s (Palmyra, VA) turn to break an 800m Record. With a little help from a great field, the senior sped to an Automatic Qualifying 1:50.93 that dropped two seconds from his previous best. It also ended Jerome Valree’s 20 year reign as School Record Holder and qualified Winkler for the Canadian National Championships, too. Hansen’s encore to her record run was an Automatic Qualifier of her own. She finally hit all ten hurdles in stride and was rewarded with a 61.90 clocking in the 400m Hurdles – a PR by just over a second and an improvement of her #4 Ranking in CNU History.
Also enhancing their current CNU Rankings were Corey Lofton (Vienna, VA) in the Steeplechase (9:30.22 PR - +#2 CNU) and Joseph Taylor (Prince George, VA) in the Pole Vault (4.56m/14-11.5 PR - +#3 CNU). Cheria Jackson (Woodbridge, VA) closed her season with three more PRs. She cut another tenth of a second from her best in the 100m (12.44) and about four tenths from each in the 100m Hurdles (15.27) and 200m (25.50).
Two of the Captains got one more shot at qualifiers at North Central College’s Gregory Invitational in Chicago. Both Jenna Elliott and Brittany Jacobs showed they had the legs for Nationals, but could not find the rhythm to post the marks.
When the NCAA posted the entry lists for the National Championships in Columbus, OH, the Captains had their three Automatic Qualifiers – Roethel (Decathlon), Winkler (800m), and Hansen (400m Hurdles) – plus Brittany Jacobs (Long Jump) in the meet.For complete CNU Results, check out the results pages for Roanoke, Swarthmore, and North Central.